Indian finance minister Arun Jaitley presented a pro-poor budget ahead of polls in the key states including the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, and also slashed the income tax rate by half for low income earners.
India proposed to increase the allocations for rural employment, and also set the target for agricultural credit to 10 lacs crores.
Jaitley rewarded small tax payers, by slashing the tax rate by half for those earning between 250,000-500,000 Indian rupees.
He preferred to increase the surcharge to rich Indians. Jaitley proposed a surcharge of 10 percent to those earnings 50 lacs Indian rupees to 1 crore Indian rupees, and maintained the 15 percent extra levy to those earnings 1 crore Indian rupees. The government also proposed to abolish the foreign investment promotion board to attract more foreign investments into the country.
Income tax for companies with turnover of more than 50 crores has been cut to 25 percent.
India’s equity markets gave a thumps up to the budget. The Sensex was up 300 points after the budget from near flat performance before the speech.
The budget highlights:
India slashes income tax rate by half to 5 percent for people falling in 250,000-500,000 rupees slab
10 percent surcharge for those earnings between 50 lacs to 1 crore rupees
15 percent surcharge to those earning above 1 crore Indian rupees
Post demonetization, India slashes income tax rate
Total allocation for rural, agricultural allied sectors for 2017-18 is a record Rs 1,87,223 crore, up 24 percent from last year
Target for agricultural credit in 2017-18 has been fixed at a record Rs 10 lakh crore
Watch: India budget presentationCoverage of Fasal Bima Yojana to go up from 30 percent of cropped area, to 40 percent in 2017-18, 50 percent in 2018-19
NABARD to set up dedicated micro-irrigation fund to be set to achieve Per Drop More Crop mission Corpus of NABARD's long-term irrigation fund raised to Rs 40,000 crore
India is a largely tax non-compliant society
FIPB to be abolished to ease foreign investments
Focus on export infrastructure to improve competitiveness
Second phase to build strategic oil reserve, to set up plants in Odisha, and Rajasthan
Indian Sensex up 0.02 percent at 27,662.76, was down 0.06 percent before the budget
2,000 more railway stations to be made into solar
New railway lines to be commissioned, stations to undergo re-development
Infrastructure: India now in a position to synergize the investments in roads, railways, waterways and civil aviation
AIIMS to be set up in Jharkhand and Gujarat
Action plan to eliminate leprosy, measles, tuberculosis
150,000 health centers to be converted to wellness centersBudget to focus on rural population, youth, poor and underprivileged
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley (C) stands outside his office at North Block holding the briefcase containing the Union budget for 2017 and is flanked by MoS Arjun Meghwal (R) and Santosh Gangwar (L), on Wednesday. PTI
Trying to create digital economy through transparency
Women to be provided with digital literacy
6,000 rupees to be directly transferred to pregnant women
Propose to facilitate higher investments in affordable housing, which will be given infrastructure process
Prudent fiscal management to preserve financial stability
Jaitley says: Positive signs point to positive outlook next year; India stands out as a bright economic spot in global landscape; Demonetisation was a bold measure.
Budget address to parliament
Delivering his fourth budget address to parliament, Jaitley vowed to spend more on rural areas, infrastructure and poverty alleviation in what he called a budget for the poor.
Yet he also said the government would pursue prudent fiscal management to preserve India's economic stability.
"We are seen as an engine of global growth," Jaitley said in his opening remarks. But he cautioned that the prospect of US interest rate hikes, rising oil prices and signs that globalisation is in retreat could adversely affect India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's surprise decision last November to scrap high-value banknotes worth 86 percent of India's cash in circulation has hit consumer demand, disrupted supply chains and hurt capital investments.
The worst of the cash crunch is now over, however, and Jaitley said he expected it would not have spillover into the fiscal year starting on April 1. A private manufacturing survey on Wednesday showed business was slowly returning to normal.
Death of MP
Despite the death of sitting parliamentarian and former Union Minister E. Ahamed, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley decided to present the 2017-18 Budget.
"As per normal tradition, the house is adjourned after the demise of a sitting member, but it is not a rule," a Lok Sabha official said, requesting anonymity.
Earlier, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said in view of the death of such a senior leader, the budget must be postponed by a day as there is nothing pressing for it to be presented on Wednesday itself.
"If they go ahead, it will be an inhuman act," Kharge said, adding: "But the government has ignored this and they are going ahead in their own way."
Source: Gulf News