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Union Budget
Union Budget 2018-19 LIVE: Highlights of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's budget speech
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is all set to present the Union Budget 2018-19 in the Parliament on Thursday. This is Narendra Modi-led NDA government's fifth and final budget.

Increased spending and and reduction in tax slabs are key expectations from this budget. Furthermore, this year's budget is also expected to mainly focus on agrarian reforms to bail out the much distressed Indian farmers.

This Union Budget becomes even more crucial for the Modi government as three BJP-ruled states namely Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Nagaland go to polls this year.

The budget speech, which Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will be delivering at 11 am in the Parliament today, may lay emphasis on new rural schemes along with increasing funding for existing schemes like MNREGA.

The common man has a lot of expectations from this budget as it is being anticipated that more income tax relief will be given with increase in the exemption limit.

Other challenges that lie ahead for the government include creating more employment while keeping a close watch at India's fiscal deficit which was at Rs 5.25 trillion for April-October.

Continuing last year's trend, the Railways Budget will be included in the General Budget.

Here are key highlights of Jaitley's budget speech:

  • This year's budget will focus on strengthening agriculture and rural economy, caring for senior citizens and development of infrastructure.

  • Jaitley: Our government has eliminated middlemen by promoting direct benefit transfer.

  • Jaitley: Centre wants to help farmers produce more.

  • Jaitley: Minimum Support Price (MSP) shall be increased to at least 1.5 times the cost of production.

  • Jaitley: 470 APMCs already connected to eNAM network and the rest to be connected by March 2018.

  • Jaitley: Ministry of Agriculture to promote cluster-based development among agri-communities and regions.

  • Jaitley: Our government has moved from ease of doing business to ease of living for the poor and middle class.

  • Jaitley: Allocation in food processing ministry being almost doubled to Rs 1,400 crore from the earlier Rs 715 crore.

  • Finance minister proposes to establish state-of-the-art facilities in 42 mega food parks.

  • Jaitley: Special scheme to be introduced to give support to the state governments of Delhi-NCR, Haryana and Punjab to help control air pollution.

  • Total corpus of Rs 10,000 crore to be provided for setting up Fishery and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund and Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Fund.

  • FM Jaitley announces allocation of Rs 500 crore for Operation Green.

  • Jaitley: Govt to allocate Rs 16,000 crore under Pradhan Mantri Saubhagya Yojna to provide electricity to rural areas.

  • Sensex rises by 0.7 per cent, or 250 points to reach 36,213 points.

  • Jaitley: We aim to build 2 crore toilets over next two years under Swachch Bharat Abhiyan.

  • Jaitley: 4 crore electricity connections to be provided to poor under Saubhagya Yojna; 8 crore gas connections to women under 'Ujjjwala'.

  • Rs 14.34 lakh crore to be spent on rural infrastructure, informs Jaitley.

  • Jaitley: Eklavya schools to be started for Scheduled Tribes.

  • Jatley: Allocation of Rs 1 lakh crore over four years for revitalizing school infrastructure. The scheme will be called RISE – Revitalizing Infrastructure in School Education.

  • Jaitley: Govt launching a flagship healthcare scheme which will provide Rs 5 lakh per year to 10 crore poor families.

  • Jaitley: 187 projects sanctioned under Namami Gange Programme for revival of Ganga.

  • Jaitley: 1 medical college to be ensured for every 3 parliamentary constituencies by upgrading 24 district-level colleges.

  • Arun Jaitley allocates Rs 56,619 crore and Rs 39,135 crore for SC and ST welfare respectively.

  • Women's contribution in EPF reduced from 12% to 8%.

  • Jaitley: Govt will contribute 12% of wages of new employees in EPF of all sectors for the next 3 years.

  • All trains to be equipped with Wi-Fi, CCTV and other modern amenities.

  • Jaitley: Regional air connectivity scheme to be introduced for connecting 56 unserved airports. Capacity of airports to be hiked to handle 1 billion trips a year.

  • More than Rs 1.48 lakh crore to be allocated for Railways in the next fiscal.

  • Jaitley: Redevelopment of 600 major railway stations will be taken up; expansion plan for Mumbai transport; additional suburban network of 160 km planned for Bengaluru.

  • Jaitley: Government to introduce measures for putting a curb on cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

  • Jaitley: Salaries of President, Vice-President and governors revised to Rs 5 lakh, 4 lakh and 3.5 lakh respectively. Automatic revision of emoluments of MPs every 5 years, indexed to infaltion.

  • FM projects fiscal deficit at 3.3% of GDP.

  • Number of taxpayers have increased from 6.4 crore to 8.27 crore, informs the finance minister.

  • Corporate tax reduced from 30% to 25% for companies with an annual turnover of up to Rs 250 crore.

  • Income tax slabs remain unchanged.

  • 100% tax rebate proposed by the FM for farmer producer companies having a turnover of Rs 100 crore.

  • Exemption on interest income to be increased from Rs 10,000 to 50,000 for senior citizens on all fixed deposit schemes.

  • Long-term capital gains tax exceeding Rs 1 lakh to be taxed @10%.

  • Customs duty on mobile phones increased from 15% to 20%.

  • Education cess abolished on imported goods. To be replaced with social welfare surcharge @10%.

  • Customs duty on raw cashew reduced from 5% to 2.5%.

  • Central Board of Excise and Customs rechristened to Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs.

Lok Sabha is adjourned for the day after conclusion of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's speech. The House to meet on Monday now.

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