Union budget 2018 has been introduced by Arun Jaitley and a lot of new changes and inclusions have been made in the Budget. There are a lot of changes with respect to the previous budget and also there is a change of priorities. 2017 budget included the farming sector, the rural population, the youth, the poor and underprivileged health care, infrastructure, the financial sector for stronger institutions, speedy accountability, public services, prudent fiscal management and tax administration for the honest.
2018 budget also focuses on some of these aspects but in the majority, it deals with newer aspects of health and upliftment of the poor section of the society as well as the farmers. The fact that needs to be noted is that this time not only the traditional farming is considered government’s priority but other forms of farming especially one which supports rural households in remote locations. We shall have a comparison of both the budgets, one from 2017 and the current one.
Personal taxation is pretty much the same. The income tax slabs are not meddled with and they remain the same for this year too. In addition, there has been a reduction in tax payment for salaried taxpayers of around ₹40000. But in return, the government has increased the Education and Health cess. In 2017 it was 3% but now it will be marked at 4%. Senior citizens have also been considered in this year’s bill and many new schemes and tax exemption policies for them have come up. For example, Senior citizens are now given tax exemption of ₹50,000 on income from Bank interest compared to the earlier amount of ₹10000.
There has been a deduction for them in health insurance premiums to ₹50000 from the current ₹30000. The Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana has been extended up to 2020. The existing limit of ₹7.5 lakh for investment by senior citizens is increased to ₹15 lakh.
In the corporate sector, relief is only for those companies which have a turnover of less than ₹250 crore which will now be taxed at 25%. In addition to it, from February 1, 2018, long term capital gains on the sale of equity shares exceeding 1 lakh will also be taxed.
Farmers will now get more price for their crops because the minimum support price of crops has been increased by the NDA government which is now at one and a half times its production value. The agricultural budget which was 10 lakh Crore the last year is now 11 lakh crore. This also caters to the need of farming based cottage industries. A special Bamboo Mission is also set up worth 1280 crore, for bamboo production and its industrial use.
The custom duty on mobile phones has increased from 15% to 20%. The duty on phone parts and accessories and TV parts is also increased and now sits at 15%. For making the cashew industry grow, the Finance Minister has decreased the duty on raw cashew to 2. 5% which was 5% earlier.
A new charge namely “social welfare surcharge “ is now levied at 3 to 10% on imports and the Education cess and Secondary and Higher Education cess is now abolished.
Railway budget is the highest ever in the history which is 1.48 lakh crore. Last year it was 1.31 lakh crores. The defense budget also gets a boost of 7.81% and is now ₹ 2.95 trillion. Also, the world’s largest Healthcare program is launched under this budget, which will cover 10 crores underprivileged families by giving them health coverage of ₹5 lakh per family.