Current Affairs

Union Budget Highlights for Exams

The Union Budget of India, also referred to as the Annual financial statement in the Article 112 of the Constitution of India,[1] is the annual budget of the Republic of India. The Government presents it on the first day of February so that it could be materialized before the commencement of new financial year in April. Till 2016 it was presented on the last working day of February by the Finance Minister of India in Parliament. The budget, which is presented by means of the Finance bill and the Appropriation bill has to be passed by both the Houses before it can come into effect from April 1, the start of India’s financial year. An Interim Budget is not the same as a ‘Vote on Account’. While a ‘Vote on Account’ deals only with the expenditure side of the government’s budget, an Interim Budget is a complete set of accounts, including both expenditure and receipts. An Interim Budget gives the complete financial statement, very similar to a full Budget. While the law does not debar the Union government from introducing tax changes, normally during an election year, successive governments have avoided making any major changes in income tax laws during an Interim Budget

  •  The first Union budget of independent India was presented by R. K. Shanmukham Chetty on November 26, 1947.
  •  Former Finance Minister Morarji Desai presented the budget ten times, the most by any.Twice on his birthday(feb 29th )
  •  He is the 1st non congress PM of India.He led Janatha Party govt 1977-79

Railway Budget :Following the recommendation of the Acworth Committee in 1920- 21, headed by British railway economist William Acworth. The “Acworth Report” led to reorganisation of railways, the railway finances were separated from the general government finances in 1921. After that in 1924 the budget was announced, a practice that continued till 2016.The first live telecast took place on 24 March 1994

  • Lalu Prasad Yadav, who remained Railways Minister from 2004 to May 2009, presented the railway budget 6 times in a row
  • In the year 2000, Mamata Banerjee (later Chief Minister of West Bengal) became the first female Railway Minister. In 2002, she became the first female to present the Railway budget and is the only woman to do so for two differe nt governi ng coalitions (NDA and UPA). The Railway Budget was presented every year, a few days before the Union bu dget of India, till 2016. The Government on 21 September 2016 approved merger of the Rail and General budgets from next year, ending a 92-year-old practice of a separate budget for the nation’s largest transporter.
  • R. Venkataraman and Pranab Mukharjee worked as finance ministers and President of India.

Highlights of Union Budget 2017 – 18 : The 2017 Union Budget, presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on 01st February 2017, was broadly focused on 10 issues farming sector, rural population, youth, poor and health care for the underprivileged, infrastructure, financial sector for stronger institutions, speedy accountability, public services, prudent fiscal management and tax administration for the honest.
Following are the highlights of his speech on various issues :   Demonetisation 
1. Demonetisation is expected to have a transient impact on the economy.

2. It will have a great impact on the economy and lives of people .

3. Demonetisation is a bold and decisive measure that will lead to higher GDP growth.

4. The effects of demonetisation will not spillover to the next fiscal.

Agriculture sector

1. Sowing farmers should feel secure against natural calamities.

2. A sum of Rs. 10 lakh crore is allocated as credit to farmers, with 60 days interest waiver.

3. NABARD fund will be increased to Rs. 40,000 crore.

4. Government will set up mini labs in Krishi Vigyan Kendras for soil testing.

5. A dedicated micro irrigation fund will be set up for NABARD with Rs 5,000 crore initial corpus.

6. Irrigation corpus increased from Rs 20,000 crore to Rs 40,000 crore.

7. Dairy processing infrastructure fund wlll be initially created with a corpus of Rs. 2000 crore.

8. Issuance of soil cards has gained momentum.

9. A model law on contract farming will be prepared and shared with the States.

Rural population 

1. The government targets to bring 1 crore households out of poverty by 2019.

2. During 2017-18, five lakh farm ponds will be be taken up under the MGNREGA.

3. Over Rs 3 lakh crore will be spent for rural India. MGNREGA to double farmers’ income.

4. Will take steps to ensure participation of women in MGNREGA up to 55%.

5. Space technology will be used in a big way to ensure MGNREGA works.

6. The government proposes to complete 1 crore houses for those without homes.

7. Will allocate Rs. 19,000 crore for Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana in 2017-18.

8. The country well on way to achieve 100% rural electrification by March 2018.

9. Swachh Bharat mission has made tremendous progress; sanitation coverage has gone up from 42% in Oct 13 to 60% now.

For youth

1. Will introduce a system of measuring annual learning outcomes and come out with an innovation fund for secondary education.

2. Focus will be on 3,479 educationally-backward blocks.

3. Colleges will be identified based on accreditation.

4. Skill India mission was launched to maximise potential. Will set up 100 India International centres across the country.

5. Courses on foreign languages will be introduced.

6. Will take steps to create 5000 PG seats per annum.

For the poor and health care 

1. Rs. 500 crore allocated for Mahila Shakthi Kendras.

2. Under a nationwide scheme for pregnant women, Rs. 6000 will be transferred to each person.

3. A sum of Rs. 1,84,632 crore allocated for women and children.

4. Affordable housing will be given infrastructure status.

5. Owing to surplus liquidity, banks have started reducing lending rates for housing.

6. Elimination of tuberculosis by 2025 targeted.

7. Health sub centres, numbering 1.5 lakh, willl be transformed into health wellness centres.

8. Two AIIMS will be set up in Jharkhand and Gujarat.

9. Will undertake structural transformation of the regulator  framework for medical education.

10. Allocation for Scheduled Castes is Rs. 52,393 crore

11. Aadhaar-based smartcards will be issued to senior citizens to monitor health.

Infrastructure; Railways

1. A total allocation of Rs. 39,61,354 crore has been made.

2. Total allocation for Railways is Rs. 1,31,000 crore.

3. No service charge on tickets booked through IRCTC.

4. Raksha coach with a corpus of Rs. 1 lakh crore for five years (for passenger safety).

5. Unmanned level crossings will be eliminated by 2020.

6. 3,500 km of railway lines to be commissioned this year up from 2,800 km last year.

7. SMS-based ”clean my coach service” is put in place.

8. Coach mitra facility will be introduced to register all coach related complaints.

9. By 2019 all trains will have bio-toilets.

10. Five-hundred stations will be made differentlyabled friendly.

11. Railways to partner with logistics players for front-end and back-end solutions for select commodities.

12. Railways will offer competitive ticket booking facility

13. Rs. 64,000 crore allocated for highways.

14. High speed Internet to be allocated to 1,50,000 gram panchayats

15. New Metro rail policy will be announced with new modes of financing

Energy Sector 

1. A strategic policy for crude reserves will be set up

2. Rs. 1.26,000 cr for energy production-based investments received

3. Trade infra export scheme will be launched 2017-18.

Financial Sector 

1. FDI policy reforms – more than 90% of FDI inflows are now automated.

2. Shares of Railway PSE like IRCTC would be listed on stock exchanges.

3. Bill on resolution of financial firms to be introduced in this session of parliament.

4. Decided to abolish FIPB in 2017-18.

5. Foreign Investment Promotion Board to be abolished.

6. Revised mechanism to ensure time bound listing of CPSEs

7. Computer emergency response team for financial sector to be formed.

8. Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana lending target at Rs 2.44 lakh crore for 2017-18

9. Digital India-Bhim app will unleash mobile phone revolution – two new schemes to promote the app.

10. Govt to introduce two new schemes to promote BHIM App – referral bonus for users and cash back for traders: FM.

11. Negotiable Instruments Act might be amended.

12. DBT to LPG consumers , Chandigarh is kerosene free, 84 govt schemes are on the DBT platform.

13. Head post office as the central office for rendering passport services

14. Easy online booking system for Army, defence personnel

15. For big-time offences – including economic offenders fleeing India, the govt. will introduce a legislative change or new law to confiscate the assets of these people within the country

Fiscal Situation 

1. Total expenditure – Rs. 21, 47,000 crore

2. Abolition on plan, non-plan expenditure, focus on capital expenditure ( Capital expenditure will be 25.4 per cent)

3. Rs. 3,000 crore under Dept of Economic Affairs for implementing Budget announcements.

4. Defence expenditure, excluding pension, at Rs 2,74,114 crore

5. Expenditure in science and technology – Rs. 37,435 crore

6. Total resources transferred to States and UTs is Rs 4.11 lakh crore

7. Recommended 3% fiscal deficit for three years with deviation of 0.5% of GDP.

8. Revenue deficit – 1.9 %

9. Pegged fiscal deficit of 2017-18 at 3.2% of GDP and remain committed to achieving 3% in the next year.

On funding of political parties 

1. Maximum amount of cash donation for political parties will be Rs 2,000 from any one source from Rs 20,000

2. Political parties will be entitled to receive donations by cheque or digital mode from donors.

3. Amendment is being proposed to RBI Act to enable issuance of electoral bonds that government will scheme. Donor can

4. purchase these bonds from banks or post office via cheque or digital transactions. They can be redeemed only by registered political parties.

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