Union Budget 2018 As It Happened 

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley - Sakshi Post

Budget 2018 will be presented by finance minister Arun Jaitley at 11am today. This will be the last budget before the general elections in 2019. The Modi government is expected to have put in some sops for the farmers and SMEs. Watch this space for live updates.

Also read: Modi Terms Jaitley Budget All-Friendly

  • FM closes his Budget speech. The key takeaways for the market remains the fiscal deficit numbers and the capital gains tax both of which have been the dampeners.

  • Capital gains made on shares until Jan 31 will be grandfathered. Short term capital gains remains at 15%.
  • The total amount of exempted capital gains has surged to nearly Rs 360,000 crore as of last years returns. Considering return on equity is already high, the FM proposes to tax capital gains exceeding Rs 1 lakh at 10% without indexation benefit with certain caveats.
  • The standard deduction is in lieu of travel and medical expense reimbursement, which amounts to Rs 30,000. So the actual tax benefit would Rs 10,000 crore for each taxpayer.

  • So finally, something for the middle class, that section of society that is usually the most-ignored. Jaitley has said that the government has decided to allow a standard deduction of Rs 40,000 for salaried taxpayers, keeping in mind that they have been paying way more tax than individual business owners.

  • No perks for the salaried class as FM proposes to maintain status quo on tax slabs. However, he does reintroduce standard deduction of Rs 40,000 in lieu of medical and transport allowance. Other medical reimbursements in case of hospitalisation will continue.  The total number of salaried employees and pensioners who will benefiit from these changes is pegged at 2.5 crore.

Also read: Union Budget 2018 Highlights

  • Corporate tax for 2018-19 has been cut to 25% for companies with revenue up to Rs 250 cr
  • Jaitley has said that 41% more returns were filed this year under the simplified tax scheme. This has to be considered a success for the government, especially considering our past problems with tax compliance. If more number of people start paying their taxes, it will be easier for the government to ease tax burden on people.
  • MSME corporate tax for 2018-19 has been cut to 25% up to revenue of Rs 250 cr

  • FM Jaitley now explains the benefits accrued from various tax measures. 41% more returns were filed this year under simplified tax scheme, he says. He reiterates the governments pledge to continue to take measures which will continue to cut down black money
  • In 2017-18 the central govt will be received GST revenue of only 11 months and this will have a fiscal effect. There will also be shortfall of non-tax revenue. The total revised estimated expenditure is Rs 21.57 lakh crore against 21.47 lakh crore. We embarked upon path of consistent reduction of fiscal deficit. Revised fiscal deficit for 2017-18 is at Rs 5.95 lakh crore or 3.5% of GDP. Projecting fiscal deficit at 3.3% of GDP for 2018-19.

Also read: Funny Reactions To Union Budget 2018 on Twitter

  • Honest Taxpayers Received Demonetisation As Imaandari Ka Utsav: Jaitley

  • FM proposes to revise the emoluments of President to Rs 5 lakh per month, Rs 4 lakh for Vice President and Rs 3.5 lakh for Governor. He also proposes inflation-linked revision of salary of Members of Parliament
  • It doesn't look like the government wants to slow down divestment at all, especially since it is likely to be one of the most important modes of financing budget deficit in the coming fiscal year. Divestment target for FY19 has been set at Rs 80,000 crore.
  • Recapitalisation of PSU Banks will allow banks Rs 5 lakh cr of additional lending in FY19, he says.

Also read: 240K Tweets On Union Budget 2018

  • Disinvestment was pegged at highest level of Rs 72,500 crore in last years Budget and the government has been successful in exceeding the target. For 2018-19 the disinvestment target is set at Rs 80,000 crore.
  • Moving on to the government's aim of increasing coverage of of Aadhaar in the country, FM Jaitley says it is now mulling a scheme for providing unique identity for every business
  • Cryptocurrency investors in India have to bear in mind that the government doesn't consider them legal tender. But they needn't worry too much because Jaitley has only said that the government will look to eradicate their usage for illegitimate activities, nothing about investing in them.
  • FM stresses that the government does not consider cryptocurrencies as legal tender and will take measures to eradicate use of crytocurrencies for illegitimate activities.
  • Even as there is increased talk of higher credit offtake from the banking sector, SEBI is considering asking corporates to meet 25 percent of their debt requirements by borrowing from the market by issuing securities. This may be a positive for the market as a whole, but what it means for the banking system only time will tell.
  • Sebi will consider mandatng large corps to meet 25% of debt needs from the market, he says, adding the Reserve Bank of India will nudge companies to access bond markets for fundraising.
  • Will flying soon become the primary mode of travel for the Indian citizen? It certainly seems that way because Jaitley just said that the government intends to multiply India's 124 airports to 5 times that number.
  • Mumbai locals are going to get even better at getting you to your destination on time. The government will spend as much as Rs 11,000 crore to add tracks to the Mumbai local train network, Jaitley said.

  • At this rate, the country is not going to be looking the same this time next year. Jaitley has said that the government will complete constructing 9000 km of national highways by the end of FY19. A huge number of train coaches and new tracks are also in the works.
  • He notes that 35,000 km will be completed under Bharatmala project with outlay of Rs 5.35 lakh cr before moving on to the initiatives in Railways.
  • The FM has now moved on to make announcements related to the backbone of the economy i.e. infrastructure. Need Rs 50 lakh crore to improve infra, he says. We are confident of completing 9000 kms national highways to be by 2018- 19, he says.
  • For those of you who are about to start your first job, the government has decided to try and make it worth your while. Jaitley has announced that the government 12% EPF in wages of new employees in all sectors. This news is as good as one can expect for the job sector.
  • If this is not a people's Budget, nothing is or ever can be. Roads and railways, both of which have been cause for complaint for the Indian citizen in the past, have been given a record allocation in this Budget, no doubt with an eye toward next year's general election. Hope the government finds a way to fund this without widening fiscal deficit.

  • Nearly 70 lakh formal jobs have been created this year...govt will contribute 12 % EPF in wages of new employment in all sectors. He says facility of fixed term employment will be extended.
  • One of the banking sector's most major concerns is likely to be addressed soon, going by Jaitley's speech. The finance minister has said that he will soon be announcing measures to help deal with NPAs of SMEs, reiterating that MSMEs are extremely important for our economy.
  • MSMEs are a major engine of growth and employment, the FM notes, adding he will soon announce measures for SME NPAs.

  • Sensex up 200 pts, Nifty near 11,100 as FM Arun Jaitley tables Budget proposals.
  • Setting up 24 new medical colleges including upgrading certain existing colleges. This will ensure there is 1 government medical college in every state of the country.

  • Rs 5 lakh medical insurance cover per year for 10 crore families across the country: FM
  • FM proposes to launch a flagship National Health Protection Scheme initiative with nearly 50 crore beneficiaries which will provide up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year,for hospitalisation, one of the largest such benefits program anywhere in the world.
  • Improvement in quality of teachers can improve quality of education.The government proposes to treat education holistically without segmentation: FM
  • Govt To take Healthcare in India to new aspirational level: FM

  • Ground water irrigation scheme under Krishi Sinchayi Yojana will be taken up in regions where less than 30% land gets assured irrigation currently. Our focus will be get more and more land under irrigation facilities: FM
  • "The budget has a clear agriculture push as expected. A number of initiatives for agriculture and food processing have been announced. Policies like MSP being at 1.5 times the cost of produce need to be understood, to assess impact of inflation on agri commodities." - Anil Rego, CEO & Founder, Right Horizons.
  • The Swachh Bharat Mission seems to flying strong, having already resulted in 6 crore toilets being constructed across the country. An additional 2 crore toilets will be made in the next 2 years and this should go a long way in addressing the crucial issue of open defecation, especially in rural areas.
  • It's our endeavour that by 2020 every poor citizen of the country should have his own house. For this government will establish a dedicated affordable housing fund in the national housing bank through various funding measures.
  • Swachh Bharat Mission has led to over 6 crore toilet facilities being provided so far. In the next 2 years another 2 crore toilets will be added for defecation free country, Jaitley says
  • So it is not just agricultural farmers who have something to cheer. The government has announced a Rs 10,000 crore allocation for fisheries, aquaculture and animal husbandry funds. This is going to go along way in improving the standard of animal rearing in the country and may even significantly improve the quality of meat available in the market.
  • Government will undertake to fight the ever growing hazards of pollution from both crop burning, promotion of gas connection in houses using wood fire for cooking, among others.
  • "Given that this government understands the role of insurance in providing financial security ( introduction of PM Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana & PM Jeevan Suraksha Bima Yojana ) it's keenly expected that specific tax deductions be introduced for pure protection policies in line with NPS which is a retirement security instrument. There have been exponential rise in premiums for health insurance. The deduction limit u/s 80D needs upward revision. Quite likely we will see the revision in this budget." - Harshvardhan Roongta, Principal Financial Planner, Roongta Securities
  • FM proposes to extend kisan credit card to fisheries & animal husbandry farmers and allocate Rs 10,000 cr for fisheries & aquaculture, animal husbandry funds.
  • Free gas connection to 8 crore women from poor families: FM

  • Agri exports have the potential of USD 100 bn and therefore, state of art facility will be set up in 42 food parks for agri exports, Jaitley says.
  • Food processing sector is growing at average 8% per annum. Allocation in this sector is being doubled from 750 cr last year to 1400 crore in 2018-19.
  • Proposal to set up an agricultural market fund of Rs 2,000 crore. These reforms are clearly aimed at putting a smile on the farmer's face and encourage him to continue doing what he does for the country.

  • Government proposes to launch Operation Green for which a sum of Rs 500 crore will be allocated.
  • Food processing sector is growing at average 8% per annum. Allocation in this sector is being doubled from 750 cr last year to 1400 crore in 2018-19.
  • The government plans to set up an agricultural market fund with corpus of Rs 2,000 cr, he says as he continues to list out the measures under way to uplift the agricultural sector in the country.
  • Jaitley says that minimum support price for kharif crops will now be 1.5 times the production cost. If market prices are lower than MSP, it is the government's duty to make sure farmers get their due.
  • Govt will create institutional mechanism to take decisions on various measures to ensure the farmers income is doubled as per target. Most farmers are small and marginal and not in position to transaact at .APMCs. We will set up GRAMS and 470 APMCs connected to eNAM
  • The country's exports are slated to report a 15% growth this fiscal year and the economy is expected to grow at more than 7% next fiscal.
  • Our government is now focussing on ease of living and that there is limited interference of the government in their lives. Free gas connections are being provided, 4 crore houses are being electrified, low cost medicines are being provided, stents are being provided, free dialysis facilities are being provided, easier and cheaper convenient mode of transactions are being provided.
  • MSP for Kharif crops will be 1.5x cost of production. If prices are lower than MSP then the government has to ensure there are ways to make sure the farmers receive necessary MSP or an apt price for their products.
  • From ease of doing business, our government has moved to ease of living for the poor and middle class: FM Jaitley
  • Many services and benefits are being delivered to the people at their doorsteps: Jaitley
  • More than 86% of farmers are small and marginal: FM
  • Will work with states to provide more resources to improve quality of education: FM Arun Jaitley
  • India has achieved an average of 7.4% GDP growth in first 3 years of our government
  • Indian economy is now 2.5 trillion dollar economy in the world and expected to become the fifth largest economy very soon. IMF has projected India will grow at 7.4% next year. We are set to achieve high growth.
  • Will ensure higher price for their produce: FM
  • Will Double Farmers' income by 2022: FM
  • My Govt is committed to Welfare of Farmers: FM

  • Four years ago we pledged to the people of the nation an honest government. When we took over, the nation was part of the 'Fragile 5'. We have changed this and PM Narendra Modi has successfully implemented a structural reform; Jaitley

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