Modi government announces people-friendly Budget with eye on elections

The Budget 2018 has been described as a populist one with an eye on the elections next year. The budget speech was watched closely for how the government balances its need to reach out to voters ahead of eight state elections this year and the national election next year. Investor confidence was also an important criterion.

Speaking both in English and Hindi, Jaitley said that the budget this year is focused on consolidation and agriculture, infrastructure and healthcare.

  • Rs 5 lakh healthcare cover for 10 crore poor families.
  • Education tax increased to 4% to collect additional Rs 11,000 crore
  • Senior citizens allowed Rs 50,000 deduction on health insurance premium paid in a year from previous Rs 30,000.
  • New women workers take home pay to go up with EPF contribution capped at 8%.
  • Personal Income Tax rates unchanged.
  • Standard deduction of Rs 40,000 allowed for transport, medical reimbursement for salaried tax payers
  • Custom duty on mobile phones have been increased from 15% to 20%
  • Exemptions for senior citizens in income of Rs 10,000 from banks FD and post offices.
  • Government will contribute 12% in the Employee's Provident Fund for three years for new employees
  • Corporate tax rate for companies with up to Rs. 250 crore turnover has been reduced to 25% from 30%.
  • Aim to provide all Indians with their own homes by 2022.
  • 8 crore rural women to be given free LPG connections.
  • Generating higher benefits and productive employment for the farmers
  • Budget 2018 will particularly focus on agriculture
  • Set up Eklavya schools for tribal children
  • Rs 1 lakh crore for educational research sanctioned
  • Under RTE, lakhs of untrained teachers will be trained to help improve quality of education
  • Two crore toilets in next two years.

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