With the “world predicting that it is India’s chance to fly,” India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley unveiled his first full-spectrum budget that seeks to make India a manufacturing hub and announced a host of policy changes and targets to revitalise Asia’s third largest economy. These include the reduction of corporate tax from 30% to 25% over the next four years, visa on arrival to 150 countries, 46,727 crore (around $8 billion) increase in defence spending, a comprehensive new law to bring back black money stashed abroad, and the setting up of new IIT, IIMs, AIIMS.
Underlining that India is going to take off on a faster growth trajectory, Mr Jaitely presented a robust picture of the India growth story in months to come. “While global growth forecasts have come down, India’s forecasts have either been maintained or scaled up,” Mr Jaitley said in his Budget speech on February 28.
Mr Jaitely reinforced his government’s commitment to greater fiscal consolidation, saying that he will be able to meet the stated 4.1 per cent fiscal deficit target for the current fiscal year.
Highlight of Finance Minister’s Budget Speech:
- The budget allocation for the Defence Sector for the year 2015-16 is 246727 crore, increased from Rs 2 lakh crore
- Roadmap to achieve Fiscal deficit of 3% of GDP in three years: Target is 3.9% in 2015-16, 3.5% in 2016-17, 3% in 2017-18.
- Our government is committed to ensuring employment through MNREGA, additional allocation of Rs 5,000 crore to 34699 crore already allocated.
- Corporate tax reduced from 30% to 25% over next four years.
- Rigorous imprisonment of 10 yrs under Black Money Law
- In order to support security of women, an additional 1000 crores to Nirbhaya fund.
- We will launch the ‘Atal Pension Yojana’. It will provide a defined pension to the people, which will start at the age of 60.
- IIT in Karnataka and IIM in J&K and Andhra Pradesh to be set up; ISM Dhanabad will be upgraded to full IIT; AIIMS to be set up in J&K, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Assam.
- To support agricultural sector, I propose to allocate 25000 crore in 2015 to rural development fund
- Our commitment to farmers run deep, an ambitious soil health card has been introduced to improve soil fertility.
- After success of visas on arrival in 43 countries, FM propose to increase the countries covered under this scheme to 150.
- A new scheme of providing physical aids for senior citizens living below poverty line.
- Propose the ‘Nayi Manzil’ scheme for the youth minorities.
- Additional allocation to Child development scheme of Rs 15,00 crore and Child security scheme of Rs 500 crore.
- Propose to set-up an IT based student financial aid system under the PM Vidya Laxmi scheme
- National Skill Mission to be launched, to develop employability of youth, especially below 25 years of age
(Vikas Lather contributed inputs for this article)
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