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Union Budget
Union Budget 2016-17: A pro-farmer budget; but no change in Income tax slabs
Narendra Modi-led NDA Government has presented its second Union Budget for 2016-17 in Parliament today. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley unveiled a pro-poor budget and pledged reforms ahead of polls.

Jaitley opened up his budget speech saying, "I am presenting the budget when the global economy is in crisis." Jaitley announced the nine pillars of his Budget — Agriculture and farmers' welfare, rural sector, social sector including healthcare, education, skills and job creation, infrastructure, financial sector reforms, ease of doing business, fiscal discipline, tax reforms to reduce compliance burden.

Agriculture and farmers welfare is the most sought out sector this time. Government has introduced a farmer progress budget. Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana to bring 5 lakh acres under organic farming. Allocation of Rs 5,500 crore for crop insurance scheme. Reorganization of agricultural policy to double farmer income in five years. 

Coming to rural welfare Rs 38,500 crore for MNREGA, has been given which is highest ever for the rural employment scheme. Jaitly said that 5,542 villages have been electrified till now, more than the last three years combined and promised for 100 per cent village electrification by 2018. A total of Rs 87,769 crore allotted for rural sector.

Another major thing in the budget was that of providing health insurance of upto Rs. 1 lakh per family by the government. A top up of Rs 35,000 for people above 60 years will also be provided. 3,000 new generic medicine stores to be opened under Jan Aushadhi Scheme.

Looking at the education sector, 10 public and 10 private educational institutions to be made world-class. Rs 1,000 crore for higher education financing. Digital repository for all school leaving certificates and diplomas. Rs. 1,700 crore for 1500 multi-skill development centres. 62 more Navodaya Vidyalayas to come up under Sarva Siksha Abhiyan.

Total allocation of road and rail in 2016-17 is Rs 2.18 lakh crore. Stand Up India scheme allocated Rs 500 crore for SCs, STs women entrepreneurs. Rs 19,000 crore allocated for Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana in 2016-17. Rs 20,000 crore fund allocated for NABARD.

However, while the government has done a lot for the rural India and the agriculture sector,  it has done just a mere favor for the tax payers. The income tax slabs remains unchanged. The limit of tax rebate for people earning below Rs 5 lakhs was raised to 50,000 for first time and a Rs 3000 benefit has been provided. 

While 40 per cent of withdrawal at the time of retirement under National Pension Scheme to be taxed has been exempted. EPF will not be deducted from the salaries of the new employees as the government will be paying it for the first three months. Additional exemption of Rs 50,000 for housing loans up to Rs. 35 lakh and No Service Tax for houses built under 60 square metres.

Now coming to the items which will become costly after this budget. The prices of cigarettes, cars, jewelry, branded clothes and coal will rise. 10-15 per cent hike on tobacco products has been announced. Cars will be getting costlier as pollution cess of 1 per cent will be levied on small petrol, CNG and LPG cars. Cess of 2.5 per cent will be levied on diesel cars of certain specifications and 4 per cent cess to be levied on higher capacity vehicles such as SUVs. 1 per cent increase in excise duty for jewelry has also been announced. Clean energy cess will be levied on coal.

Who said what on Union Budget 2016-17

Prime Minister Narendra Modi:

Sanjay Jha, CEO of GlobalFoundries

Anandiben Patel, Gujrat Chief Minister

Vasundhara Raje, Chief Miniter of Rajesthan

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Jayaprakash Narayan, Loksatta founder president:

Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari

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