- Indian economy has grown to a $ 2.5 trillion economy; reaching at seventh largest in the world.
- India is expected to become the fifth largest economy very soon.
- On Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) basis, the country is already the third largest economy.
Sector wise Analysis of Budget
Agriculture and the Rural Economy
- The government is aiming to double farmers income by 2022.
- The approach of the government is that farmers should realize at least 50 per cent more than the cost of their produce.
- Minimum support price (MSP) for the majority of rabi crops at least at one and a half times the cost involved. Now, this is to be extended to rest of the crops as well.
- For this, the Government has decided to keep MSP for the all unannounced crops of kharif at least at one and half times of their production cost. This is an important step towards doubling the income of farmers.
Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs)
- 1.Government will develop and upgrade existing 22,000 rural haats into Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs).
- In these GrAMs, physical infrastructure will be strengthened using MGNREGA and other Government Schemes.
- These GrAMs, electronically linked to e-NAM and exempted from regulations of APMCs, will provide farmers facility to make direct sale to consumers and bulk purchasers.
- 1.Seasonal and regional production of perishable commodities including tomato, onion, potato etc. pose a challenge in connecting farmers and consumers in a manner that satisfies both.
- To overcome this problem, the government will launch an ‘‘Operation Greens’’ on the lines of ‘‘Operation Flood’ with an allocation of Rs 500 crores.
- Operation Greens will promote Farmer Producers Organizations (FPOs), agri-logistics, processing facilities and professional management.
Rejuvenation of Bamboo Mission
- 1.Bamboo that is known as green gold is now not treated as trees when grown outside forest.
- The budget proposes to launch a Restructured National Bamboo Mission with an outlay of Rs 1290 crore to promote bamboo sector in a holistic manner.
Farm residue burning
- Air pollution in the Delhi-NCR region has been a cause of concern.
- A special Scheme will be implemented to support the efforts of the governments of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and the NCT of Delhi to address air pollution and to subsidize machinery required for insitu management of crop residue.
Higher allocation for Saubhagya Yojana
- 1.The Prime Minister Saubhagya Yojana was launched to provide electricity to all households of the country.
- Under this scheme, four crores poor households are being provided with electricity connection free of charge.
- The government is spending Rs 16000 crore under this scheme.
- GOBAR DHAN (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan)
- The GOBAR DHAN programme is aimed for the management and conversion of cattle dung and solid waste in farms to compost, fertilizer, bio-gas and bio-CNG.
KisanUrja Suraksha evamUtthaanMahaabhiyan (KUSUM) Scheme
- It is a scheme for promoting decentralized solar power production of up to 28,250 MW to help farmers.
- It would provide extra income to farmers, by giving them an option to sell additional power to the grid through solar power projects set up on their barren lands.
- It would help in de-dieselising the sector as also the DISCOMS.
Components of the scheme:
- The components of the scheme include building 10,000 MW solar plants on barren lands.
- To provide sops to DISCOMS to purchase the electricity produced.
- ‘Solarising’ existing pumps of 7250 MW as well as government tube wells with a capacity of 8250 MW and distributing 17.5 lakh solar pumps.
- The 60% subsidy on the solar pumps provided to farmers will be shared between the Centre and the States
- 30% would be provided through bank loans, the balance cost has to be borne by the farmers.
Significance of the scheme:
- Expected positive outcomes of the scheme include promotion of decentralised solar power production, reduction of transmission losses as well as providing support to the financial health of DISCOMs by reducing the subsidy.
- The scheme would also promote energy efficiency and water conservation and provide water security to farmers.
Education technology – blackboard to digital board
- Technology will be the biggest driver for improving the quality of education. The government to increase the digital intensity in education and move gradually from ‘‘black board’’ to ‘’digital board”.
- Technology will also be used to upgrade the skills of teachers through the recently launched digital portal “DIKSHA”.
Quality education to tribal children – Ekalavya schools
- The Government is committed to provide the best quality education to the tribal children in their own environment.
- To realise this mission, every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons, will have an Ekalavya Model Residential School by 2022.
- Ekalavya schools will be on par with NavodayaVidyalayas and will have special facilities for preserving local art and culture besides providing training in sports and skill development.
RISE (‘‘Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) by 2022
- To step up investments in research and related infrastructure in premier educational institutions, including health institutions.
- With a total investment of Rs 1,00,000 crore in next four years.
- Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) would be suitably structured for funding this initiative.
Institutes of Eminence
- Government has taken major initiative of setting up Institutes of Eminence.
- There has been tremendous response to this initiative by institutions both in public and private sectors.
- The government got more than 100 applications.
- A specialized Railways University will be created at Vadodara.
Prime Minister’s Research Fellows Scheme
- Under this, the government would identify 1,000 best B.Tech students each year from premier institutions.
- To provide them facilities to do Ph.D in IITs and IISc, with a handsome fellowship.
- These young fellows would voluntarily commit few hours every week for teaching in higher educational institutions.
- Health & Social Sector
- Two major initiatives will be launched under ‘‘Ayushman Bharat’’ to address health holistically, in primary, secondary and tertiary care system covering both prevention and health promotion.
- The initiatives are health and wellness centres and National Health Promotion Scheme.
Health and wellness centres
- The National Health Policy, 2017 has envisioned Health and Wellness Centres as the foundation of India’s health system. These 1.5 lakh centres will bring health care system closer to the homes of people.
- They will provide comprehensive health care, including for noncommunicable diseases and maternal and child health services.
- These centres will also provide free essential drugs and diagnostic services
National Health Protection Scheme
1.For the poor and vulnerable families, the current RashtriyaSwasthyaBima Yojana (RSBY) provides annual coverage of Rs 30,000.
- Several State Governments have also implemented/supplemented health protection schemes providing varying coverage.
- The Government has now decided to take health protection to more aspirational level by launching a bigger health protection scheme.
- For this, a flagship National Health Protection Scheme will be launched to cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries).
- To provide coverage upto 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.
Model districts development
- To achieve vision of an inclusive society, the Government has identified 115 aspirational districts taking various indices of development in consideration.
- The government expect these 115 districts to become model of development.
- The objective is to improve the quality of life in these districts
- Investing in social services like health, education, nutrition, skill upgradation, financial inclusion and infrastructure.
- Irrigation, rural electrification, potable drinking water and access to toilets at an accelerated pace and in a time bound manner.
- MSMEs and Employment
- Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) are a major engine of growth and employment in the country.
- Massive formalization of the businesses of MSMEs is taking place in the country after demonetization and introduction of GST.
- It is proposed to onboard public-sector banks and corporates on Trade Electronic Receivable Discounting System (TReDS) platform and link this with GSTN.
- Online loan sanctioning facility for MSMEs will be revamped for prompt decision making by the banks.
Trade Electronic Receivable Discounting System (TReD) Platform
- Digital Platform
- MSME’s access to capital
- Auctioning the trade receivables.
- Bills discounting / discount rate.
- Financier / factoring companies.
Fintech, Startups and VCs
- Use of Fintech in financing space will help growth of MSMEs.
- A group in the Ministry of Finance is examining the policy and institutional development measures needed for creating right environment for Fintech companies to grow in India.
- The government has taken a number of policy measures including launching ‘‘Start-Up India’’ program.
- Building very robust alternative investment regime in the country .
- Rolling out a taxation regime designed for the special nature of the VCFs and the angel investors.
- The government will take additional measures to strengthen the environment for their growth and successful.
- Operation of alternative investment funds in India.
Women employment in the formal sector
- To incentivize employment of more women in the formal sector and to enable higher takehome wages.
- An amendment in the Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 will be made.
- There will be no change in employers’ contribution.
- The objective of the amendment is to reduce women employees’ contribution in EPF to 8% for first three years of their employment against existing rate of 12% or 10%.
Tunnel construction for Sela and Zozila passes
- For supporting defence, development of connectivity infrastructure in border areas is important.
- Already, the Rohtang tunnel has been completed to provide all weather connectivity to the Ladakh region.
- Contract for construction of Zozila Pass tunnel of more than 14 kilometer is progressing well.
- The budget proposes to take up construction of tunnel under Sela pass.
Urban infrastructure – Smart Cities, AMRUT and HRIDAY
- Smart Cities Mission aims at building 100 Smart Cities with state-of- the-art amenities and 99 Cities have been selected with an outlay of Rs 2.04 lakh crore.
- These Cities have started implementing various projects like
- – Smart Command and Control Centre,
- – Smart Roads,
- -Solar Rooftops,
- – Intelligent Transport Systems,
- -Smart Parks.
- For promoting tourism in important centres, the budget proposes to develop ten prominent tourist sites into Iconic Tourism destinations by following a holistic approach.
- Involves infrastructure and skill development, development of technology, attracting private investment, branding and marketing.
- In addition, tourist amenities at 100 Adarsh monuments of the Archaeological Survey of India will be upgraded to enhance visitor experience.
1.The government is confident to complete National Highways exceeding 9000 kms length during 2017-18.
- Ambitious BharatmalaPariyojana has been approved for providing seamless connectivity of interior and backward areas and borders of the country to develop about 35000 kms in Phase-I at an estimated cost of Rs 5,35,000 crore.
- To raise equity from the market for its mature road assets, NHAI will consider organizing its road assets into
- Special Purpose Vehicles
- use innovative monetizing structures viz..,
- Toll Operate and Transfer (TOT)
- Infrastructure Investment Funds (InvITs).
- A ‘Safety First’ policy, with allocation of adequate funds under Rashtriya Rail SanrakshaKosh is cornerstone of Railways’ focus on safety.
- Maintenance of track infrastructure is being given special attention. Over 3600 kms of track renewal is targeted during the current fiscal.
- Other major steps include increasing use of technology like ‘‘Fog Safe’’ and ‘‘Train Protection and Warning System’’.
- In the last three years, the domestic air passenger traffic grew at 18% per annum and India’s airline companies placed orders for more than 900 aircrafts.
- Operations have already started at 16 such airports.
- Regional connectivity scheme of UDAN (UdeDesh ka AamNagrik)
- Initiated by the Government last year, Connects 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved helipads across the country
- Financial Sector
Reform on Stamp duty
1.The government will make reform measures with respect to stamp duty regime on financial securities transactions in consultation with the States and make necessary amendments the Indian Stamp Act.
International Financial Centre
- International Financial Service Centre (IFSC) at Gift City, which has become operational, needs a coherent and integrated regulatory framework.
- To fully develop and to compete with other offshore financial centres.
- The Government will establish a unified authority for regulating all financial services in IFSCs in India.
- Government initiatives on transformational technologies
- Global economy is transforming into a digital economy because of the development of cutting edge technologies in digital space – machine learning, artificial intelligence, internet of things, 3D printing.
- Initiatives such as Digital India, Start Up India, Make in India would help India establish itself as a knowledge and digital society.
- NITI Aayog will initiate a national program to direct efforts in the area of artificial intelligence, including research and development of its applications.
- Combining cyber and physical systems have great potential to transform not only innovation ecosystem but also the economy and the people.
- To invest in research, training and skilling in robotics, artificial intelligence, digital manufacturing, big data analysis, quantum communication and internet of things.
- Department of Science & Technology will launch a Mission on Cyber Physical Systems to support establishment of centres of excellence.
- The objective of the BharatNetprogramme is connecting one lakh gram panchayat through high speed optical fiber network.
- Phase I of the project has been completed. This has enabled broadband access to over 20 crore rural Indians in about two lakh fifty thousand villages.
- The Government also proposes to setup five lakh wi-fi hotspots which will provide broadband access to five crore rural citizens.
- Distributed ledger system or the block chain technology allows organization of any chain of records or transactions without the need of intermediaries.
- The Government does not consider cryptocurrencies legal tender or coin and will take all measures to eliminate use of these cryptoassets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system.
- The Government will explore use of block chain technology proactively for ushering in digital economy.
Defence sector policies
- The defence sector was opened up private investment in defence production including liberalizing foreign direct investment. The government will take measures to develop two defence industrial production corridors in the country
- For this, an industry friendly Defence Production Policy 2018 will be brought to promote domestic production by public sector, private sector and MSMEs.
ID for individual enterprises
Aadhar has provided an identity to every Indian. Aadhar has eased delivery of so many public services to the people. Every enterprise, major or small, also needs a unique ID. The Government will evolve a Scheme to assign every individual enterprise in India a unique ID.
National Logistics Portal
Department of Commerce will be developing a National Logistics Portal as a single window online market place to link all stakeholders.
ETF for disinvestment
- The Government introduced Exchange Traded Fund Bharat-22 to raise Rs 14,500 crore, which was over-subscribed in all segments.
- DIPAM will come up with more ETF offers including debt ETF.
Bank recapitalisation and EASE
- Bank recapitalization program has been launched with bonds of Rs 80,000 crore being issued this year.
- The programme has been integrated with an ambitious reform agenda, under the rubric of an Enhanced Access and Service Excellence (EASE) programme.
- This recapitalization will pave the way for the public-sector banks to lend additional credit of Rs 5 lakh crore.
Gold asset policy
- The Government will formulate a comprehensive Gold Policy to develop gold as an asset class.
- The Government will also establish a system of consumer friendly and trade efficient system of regulated gold exchanges in the country.
- Gold Monetization Scheme will be revamped to enable people to open a hassle-free Gold Deposit Account.
- Outward Direct Investment (ODI) from India has grown to US$15 billion per annum.
- The Government will review existing guidelines and processes and bring out a coherent and integrated Outward Direct Investment (ODI) policy.
- Outward Direct Investment means direct investment by Indian entities in foreign countries.