Representative photo. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tabled the Budget for 2018 on Thursday.
The finance minister started his budget speech at 11 am in the Rajya Sabha. As expected the Budget wooed rural voters and small business owners before the general assembly elections.
Here are reactions to the Budget proposals from people belonging to various sectors and fields.
“The National Health Scheme of the government is a great initiative and will act as a catalyst in elevating the insurance sector and in turn the health care services for the uninsured and underinsured population. Also, overall Health insurance deductions increasing to 50k and increase in exemption limit from Rs 10K to Rs 50K for Senior Citizens is a big positive move to promote health care and safety amongst the most deserving," said Mr Karni S Arha, Chief Financial Officer, Aviva India.
Jaitley announced that Under Aayushman Bharat programme, 1.5 lakh centres will be set up to provide health facilities closer to home and Rs 1,200 crore to be allocated for this programme.
Jaitley announced a Flagship National Healthcare protection scheme, with approximately 50 crore beneficiaries. Up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation. The individual exemption limits for paying Health Insurance have been increased to Rs 40,000 (from Rs.25,000) for the taxpayer and to Rs 50,000 (from 30,000).
"Our sincere thanks to the Prime Minister, Sh. Narendra Modi and Finance Minister, Sh. Arun Jaitley for presenting a budget with a focus on Agriculture and rural economy. We at IFFCO welcome the budget and consider it as 'Path breaking' because it has given the much-needed impetus to the Agriculture sector, the backbone of Indian economy," Dr U S Awasthi, MD, IFFCO said.
“Medical insurance of Rs 5 lakh for 10 crore families is a huge initiative,” said Union minister Nitin Gadkari adding that this was a “historic budget.”
The government allocated Rs 2,000 crore to Agriculture market fund. Kharif MSP at 1.5 times of produce times. Food processing sector allocation almost doubled Rs 14,000 crore. Rs 500 crore allocated to operation greens. Rs 10, 000 crore for fisheries, aquaculture and animal husbandry funds.
"Allocations such as 500 crore for Operation Green, corpus of 10,000 crore for Fishery and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund and Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Fund, Rs 11 lakh crore for institutional credit for farm sector among others would definitely help farmers of the nation to get the necessary funding. Policies such as the implementation of MSP for all crops; being hiked to 1.5 times of production costs, linkages of APMCs with ENAM and aim to develop 22,000 Gramin agricultural markets and liberalisation of agricultural products export will boost up help farmers morale with more incomes at their hands and help in the growth of the agrarian economy. Making Direct Benefit Transfer a reality would also provide the farmers with the much-required flexibility in terms of money, choice and decisions," Awasthi said.
Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal has also welcomed the Union Budget, saying the government’s decision to double ministry’s budget allocation to Rs 1,400 crore for next fiscal will boost farmers income and generate million of new jobs.
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu has welcomed the Budget saying it “addressed the real things” with more focus on the rural economy and the agriculture sector. However, he was “not happy” that Jaitley did not touch upon issues related to Andhra Pradesh, in the budget speech.
Reacting to the Budget, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said, “Congress is forgetting that in the yr before 2009 election the Congress party had allowed fiscal deficit situation to deteriorate from 2.9 per cent to over 5 per cent within same yr. If that is fiscal prudence, then we will have to revisit the definition of fiscal prudence in India.”
Also read: Top takeaways from Union Budget 2018
Allocation to Digital India scheme doubled to Rs 3073 cr. 5 lakh WiFi HotSpots to provide Broadband access to 5 crore rural citizens, at the cost of Rs 10,000 cr.
"Technology has always been an enabler. One lakh gram panchayats have already been connected through broadband. Focus on linking more villages through broadband and creating hundreds of wifi spots to make internet available to households in rural areas to augur well for fast-tracking of the development process," Awasthi added.
"These steps will definitely work towards generating higher income for Indian farmers and generating employment. As this is the last proper budget before the country goes for election, these budget announcements are welcoming which focuses on strengthening agriculture and the rural economy. These would work towards government’s aim to double farmers income by 2020,” Awasthi said in conclusion.