Union Budget 2018 Highlights: New additions, Changes, and much more


Earlier today, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Union Budget 2018, which was Modi government’s last full budget before the upcoming elections in 8 states this year and Lok Sabha elections in 2019. Speculations were strong and hopes were high prior to the announcement but now that the budget has been presented, here are key highlights of what remained changed and unchanged:

1) Income Tax

No changes have been made to the personal income tax rates but the corporate tax of 25% has been extended to companies with a turnover of up to INR 250 Crores in the financial year 2016-17. Besides, senior citizens have been given exemptions in income of INR 10,000 from Bank fixed deposits and post offices. The senior citizens also get exemptions of INR 50,000 per annum for medical insurance. Moving on, tax on distributed income is 10%, education cess has reached 4% and PAN has been made compulsory for entities making the financial transaction of INR 2.5 Lakhs or more.

2) Agriculture

The Minimum Selling Price (MSP) for Kharif Crops has been set at 1.5 times the product price and INR 500 Crores will be allocated to Operation Green that will be launched to promote agricultural products. Besides, the agricultural market and infra fund of INR 2000 Crores will be set up to strengthen market connectivity.

The Kisan credit card facilities have been extended to fisheries and animal husbandry. A proposal has been made to launch a restructured bamboo mission worth INR 1200 Crores while INR 10,000 Crores have been allotted for animal husbandry infra fund.

3) Education

INR 1 Lakh Crores have been allocated to upgradation of education and objective is to replace all blackboards with digital boards by the year 2022. Furthermore, every block having more than 50% ST population will now have Eklavya Schools in line with Navodaya Vidyalayas. The government is also keen on teaching the undergraduate students once a week and 1000 B.Tech students will be provided PHDs in IIT and IISc.

4) Health

The government will set up 1.5 Lakh centers under the Aayushman Bharat program for which INR 1200 Crores will be allotted. Moreover, one medical college will be set up for every 3 parliamentary constituencies alongside 24 new government medical colleges. INR 600 Crores will be allocated for tuberculosis patients while hospitals will be upgraded to medical colleges.

5) Railways

The capex has been fixed at INR 1.48 Lakh Crores this year as opposed to last year’s INR 1.31 Lakh Crores. Further, all stations with a footfall of more than 25,000 will have escalators while unmanned railway crossing will be eliminated. The Mumbai rail network has been allocated INR 11,000 Crores while Bengaluru metro has been allocated INR 17,000 Crores. Besides, 150 km of additional suburban railway networks will also be set up in Bengaluru at INR 17,000 Crores.

6) Infrastructure

A new tunnel will be constructed in Sera Pass for tourism promotion and the pay-as-you-use system will be introduced for toll payments. Under the Bharatmala project, 35000 km will be developed under phase 1 with an outlay of INR 5.35 Lakh Crores. For smart city project, 99 cities have been selected with an allocation of INR 2.04 Lakh Crores.

7) Miscellaneous

The defense department saw an outlay raised to INR 2.82 Lakh Crores as opposed to the current figure of INR 2.67 Lakhs. Food subsidy has been raised to INR 1.69 Lakh Crores. Emoluments have been set at INR 5 Lakhs for President, INR 4 Lakhs for Vice President and INR 3.5 Lakhs for Governors.