Highlights of the General Budget 2017-18: Aadhaar Pay, Post Offices for Passport Services, Low Tariff Optical Fiber Connectivity - chaprama | Insights from the world of Technology and Lifestyle


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Highlights of the General Budget 2017-18: Aadhaar Pay, Post Offices for Passport Services, Low Tariff Optical Fiber Connectivity

The Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Shri Arun Jaitley presented the General Budget 2017-18 in Parliament today. The Finance Minister Shri Jaitley in his Budget speech said that the agenda is “Transform, Energise and Clean India” (TEC)- to transform the quality of governance for the better quality of life. 

Highlights of the General Budget 2017-18: Aadhaar Pay, Post Offices for Passport Services, Low Tariff Optical Fiber Connectivity,

Here are the General budget highlights you need to know.

Total expenditure in Budget for 2017-18 has been placed at 21.47 lakh crores and this is expected to have multiplier effects and lead to higher growth. 

The total resources being transferred to the States and the Union Territories with Legislatures is Rs. 4.11 lakh crores in 2017-18, as against Rs.3.60 lakh crores in BE 2016-17.

Defence expenditure excluding pensions stands at Rs. 2,74,114 crore
Revenue deficit for next year is pegged at 1.9%  as against 2% mandated by the FRBM Act.

Terming demonization a right cause, Finance Minister recalled Mahatma’s quote that  “A right cause never fails”.

The Finance Minister said by the end of 2017-18, high-speed broadband connectivity on optical fiber will be available in more than 1,50,000 gram panchayats, with wifi hot spots and access to digital services at low tariffs. He said accordingly the budget for Bharat Net Project has been stepped up to Rs.10,000 crores in 2017-18. He pointed out that under the BharatNet Project, OFC has already been laid in 1,55,000 km. The Minister said that a ‘DigiGaon’ initiative will be launched to provide telemedicine, education and skills through digital technology.

Recalling announcements made by the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister made on 31st December, 2016 as a part of the nationwide scheme Rs. 6,000 each will be transferred directly to the bank accounts of pregnant women who undergo institutional delivery and to vaccinate their children. 

The Finance Minister said that accordingly a total allocation of Rs.3,96,135 crores is made for infrastructure development in 2017-18, out of which Rs. 2,41,387 crores is for  rail, roads, shipping.

The Government will undertake a Mission Antyodaya to bring one crore households out of poverty and to make 50,000-gram panchayats poverty free by 2019, the year marking the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhiji.

Shri Arun Jaitley announced that Mahila Shakti Kendras will be set up at village level with an allocation of Rs. 500 crores in 14 lakh ICDS Anganwadi Centres. He said these Kendras  are for empowering rural women with opportunities for skill development, employment, digital literacy, health and nutrition.

The budget for the welfare of Women and Children stepped up from Rs. 1,56,528 crores
to Rs 1,84,632 crores in 2017-18.

Railways expenditure will be Rs. 1,31,000 crores, Rs.55,000 crores to be provided by the Government.

The shares of Railway PSEs like IRCTC, IRFC and IRCON will be listed on stock exchanges.

The Finance Minister announced that a new ETF with diversified CPSE stocks and other Government holdings will be launched in 2017-18.

Rs. 10,000 crores is provided for the recapitalization of Banks in 2017-18. The Finance Minister says that an additional allocation will be provided, as may be required.

For the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana the lending target has been set at Rs. 2.44 lakh crores in 2017-18, doubling it from the ones in 2015-16 with priority to be given to Dalits, Tribals, Backward Classes, Minorities, and Women.

For higher education reforms in UGC and for secondary education an Innovation Fund to encourage local innovation for ensuring universal access, gender parity and quality improvement with the initial focus on 3479 educationally backward blocks are proposed.

A common application form for registration, opening of bank and demat accounts, and issue of PAN will be introduced for Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs). SEBI, RBI and CBDT will jointly put in place the necessary systems and procedures. This will greatly enhance operational flexibility and ease of access to Indian capital markets.

The Minister said that Aadhar Pay, a merchant version of Aadhar Enabled Payment System, will be launched shortly to specifically benefit those who do not have debit cards, mobile wallets and mobile phones for digital payments and financial inclusion.

Government now proposes to utilize the Head Post Offices as front offices for rendering passport services to people in far-flung areas.

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