Plan and Policy

Plan & Policy

A bilingual budget that speaks to India & Bharat

Nearly four years of tough structural reforms, fiscal consolidation and courageous measures such as demonetisation and GST have allowed finance minister Arun Jaitley to boldly venture into unchartered social security territory.

The National Healthcare Protection Scheme (NHPS) will be the world’s largest government-funded healthcare programme that will benefit 500 million people. That is roughly the entire population of US and Russia put together.

There are three pillars to budget 2018:

*Recognition of healthcare of young and old

NHPS a great move, but funding suspect

The Union budget for 2018-19 rightly provides a focus on agriculture, he­althcare and education. The big move towards the path of universal healthcare coverage under the flagship National Health Pr­otection Scheme (NHPS), which will bring over 50 crore citizens with Rs 5 lakh per family income for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation is a transformational move for the country.

The question to answer is how will the scheme be funded and executed given the fact that health is also a state subject. 

Modicare ambitious, sans allocation

World’s largest government funded health cover’ under the new National Health Protection Scheme was announced in the Budget to provide Rs 5 lakh cover to 10 crore underprivileged families or 50 crore beneficiaries. While the government has not yet made any specific allocation for the scheme, at the current commercial rate of premium, this could cost the government up to Rs 1.5 lakh crore. Experts are still unclear about how government will implement such a scheme without specifying allocation.

‘TOP’ priority for Operation Greens

The government has given ‘TOP’ priority to address the concerns of farmers and consumers of sensitive crops such as tomato, onion and potato (TOP) that each year pose a challenge for the policy makers with frequent incidence of sky-rocketing prices due to shortages on one end and rotting crop on account of glut production on the other.

Ten tourist sites to become “iconic” tourist destinations

The Union budget proposed developing of 10 tourist sites into “iconic” tourist destinations. As the budget did not mention which these cities are, there was lack of clarity as to whether they are already included in the PRASAD scheme of previous budgets.

Reduction in corporate tax a welcome step

The Budget 2018-19 has given sharper focus to growth, especially agriculture, rural infrastructure, generation of employment, education and health care sectors. Developments of these social factors are essential for the sustenance of stable growth of the country. 

Budget helps realise dream of New India

The Union budget would ensure that development touched all sections of society and help the government realise its dream of a "New India" by 2022. It was a pro-people budget that would take the country ahead on the path to development.

The budget gives "new wings" to the aspirations of the poor. Measures are aimed at giving a boost to farmers, infrastructure, rural sector and small and medium enterprises.

PM sounds poll bugle on budget day but poll reverses stun party

Prime minister Narendra Modi has sounded the poll bugle in the Union budget 2018, which he described as an exercise in strengthening the foundation of new India.

With the focus firmly on agriculture and health, the two most neglected areas till now, prime minister Modi deflated the opposition’s attack that his government had favoured only the corporate and India Inc.

Hidden bomb

As always, there are hidden bombs within the fine print.Deductions for instance in respect of certain incomes will not be allowed unless return is filed by due date. The existing provisions contained in the section 80AC of the Act provide that no deduction would be admissable under section  80 1A or section 80 1AB or section 80 1B or section 801C or section 80 1D or section 80 1E, unless the return of income by the assessee is furnished on or before the due date specified under sub section (1) of section 139 of the Act.

A blockbuster budget for rural India

The first thought when hearing the FM speech was “but how’s he going to fund this? Is there a huge sting in the tail in the form of taxes lined up? As it turned out there was no real sting, if anything the 10 per cent tax on long term capital gains on equities was a mild one- easy to accept and digest. As compared to all other asset classes, only equities enjoyed a zero LTCG, seen in that light a 10 per cent tax on profits is just fine. People invest in equities for long term returns, and this tax is not going to dissuade investment in equities in the long run.

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