Union finance minister Arun Jaitley leaves along with others from the Ministry of Finance for parliament ahead of Union Budget 2018 on Thursday. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
Union finance minister Arun Jaitley leaves along with others from the Ministry of Finance for parliament ahead of Union Budget 2018 on Thursday. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

Union Budget 2018 LIVE: IMF welcomes fiscal deficit targets set by Arun Jaitley

Finance minister Arun Jaitley unveiled today Union Budget 2018, the Narendra Modi govt’s fifth and final full budget. Here are the live updates from parliament

New Delhi: Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday presented Union Budget 2018, the Narendra Modi government’s last full budget before 2019 Lok Sabha elections.Jaitley announced a slew of populist measures and said the government was taking steps to build “A New India”. Ahead of a slew of assembly elections in 2018 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Union Budget 2018 was clearly focused on women, farmers, youth, poor, the middle class and disadvantaged communities.Here are the live updates on Union Budget 2018 and Arun Jaitley’s budget speech:
01 Feb 2018, 10:29:00 PM IST

Budget 2018: Bitcoin prices slump to lowest this year after India clampdown

Bitcoin slumped to its low for the year after seeing more than $44 billion in market value lost during January after India’s finance minister Arun Jaitley announced a clampdown on cryptocurrency in Union Budget 2018.After reaching a record high of $19,511 on 18 December, Bitcoin has lost more half its value as the digital token has been weighed down by expectations of more government oversight globally, fears of price manipulation, the susceptibility of exchanges to hacking and lingering concern that it’s all just an asset bubble. Facebook announced a ban on cryptocurrency ads this week. (Bloomberg)

01 Feb 2018, 09:36:00 PM IST

Yashwant Sinha terms Union Budget 2018 ‘jugglery of numbers’

01 Feb 2018, 09:20:00 PM IST

IMF welcomes fiscal deficit targets set by Arun Jaitley

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) today welcomed the fiscal targets set by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Union Budget 2018 and noted that the economic survey released this week strikes a good balance with realistic forecast.“We really haven’t had a chance to fully assess it. But, that said we welcome the fiscal 2019 budget targets, which has a fiscal deficit of 3.3% of GDP which in our view returns budget to a path of gradual fiscal consolidation while keeping in mind the need to provide support to India’s needs and economic recovery,” William Murray, deputy spokesman, International Monetary Fund, told reporters. (PTI)

01 Feb 2018, 09:10:00 PM IST

Smart cities mission gets a hike in budget

With maximum increase in allocation to the Smart Cities Mission, the Housing and Urban Affairs (HUA) ministry’s budgetary provisions have been pegged at over Rs41,765 crore for the next fiscal, a hike of 2.82% over 2017-18.The ministry was formed after merging the “urban development” and “housing and urban poverty alleviation” ministries, which had a total outlay of Rs40,618 crore in Union Budget 2017-18.Smart Cities Mission, under which the ministry has announced 99 cities for central assistance, got the highest hike of 54.22 per cent with Rs 6,169 crore as against Rs 4,000 crore in Budget 2017-18. (PTI)

01 Feb 2018, 09:01:00 PM IST

Govt setting up model skill centres in every district: Arun Jaitley

The government is setting up a model aspirational skill centre in every district of the country under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra programme, finance minister Arun Jaitley said today. Unveiling the Union Budget 2018 in Parliament today, Jaitley said 306 Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras have been established for imparting skill training through such centres. The budget documents showed that the proposed outlay to the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship has been raised to Rs3,400 crore in 2018-19, as against the revised estimate of Rs2,356.22 crore in the current financial year. (PTI)

01 Feb 2018, 09:04:00 PM IST

Here’s an income tax calculator for 2018-19

In the Union Budget 2018, there is no proposal for changing the structure of income tax slabs. The Budget 2018 has raised the tax liability of citizens, except for some categories of senior citizens. Though standard deduction of Rs40,000 has been announced for salaried individuals, the actual benefit is very less since it is in lieu of existing benefits. Besides, health and education cess has increased on your tax from 3% to 4% which increases your tax liability.Here’s a free tax calculator tool to calculate your income tax for 2018-19.

01 Feb 2018, 08:43:00 PM IST

Modi govt achieved new feats in road construction, to complete 9,000km in FY18: Arun Jaitley

Finance minister Arun Jaitley said that road-building is a priority area for the Narendra Modi government even as it “scaled new heights” in the sector and was confident of building more than 9,000 km of highways in 2017-18.Tabling the Union Budget 2018 in Parliament today, Jaitley also said the ambitious Bharatmala project was going to be milestone for connectivity in the country. “Our government has scaled new heights in development of road infrastructure sector. We are confident to complete National Highways exceeding 9,000km length during 2017-18,” Jaitley said. (PTI)

01 Feb 2018, 08:40:00 PM IST

Unprecedented budget, makes India and BJP proud: L.K. Advani

BJP veteran L.K. Advani today lavished praise on the government for its Union Budget 2018 which he said made India and his party proud, and held that no earlier budget had set such high goals for growth in all sectors. The Union Budget 2018 combined “ambition and empathy” of almost an unprecedented order, he said in a statement, and added that it made him happy to see his party pursuing “economic growth with a human face”. “I cannot recall any budget in the past that set such high goals, targets and commitments for the growth of all sectors of the economy and also for securing people’s welfare. I am sure India is headed towards a brighter future,” the former deputy prime minister said. (PTI)

01 Feb 2018, 08:22:00 PM IST

Budget 2018 is pragmatic, says economist Arvind Panagariya

Describing the Union Budget as “pragmatic”, noted economist Arvind Panagariya today said the coverage of 100 million families for expenses up to Rs500,000 under government-funded health care is the most significant programme announced by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley. “For a pre-poll budget, this is an extremely pragmatic budget. Reflecting the timing, the focus is on rural and agricultural economy but no populist schemes that are inconsistent with the country’s long-term interest have been launched,” Panagariya told PTI. (PTI)

01 Feb 2018, 08:19:00 PM IST

Healthcare stocks gain on Budget 2018 announcement

Healthcare stocks today rose by as much as 5% following government’s initiatives such as Rs1,200-crore allocation for Ayushman Bharat programme and providing Rs5 lakh annual cover to 10 crore families for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization. Shares of Apollo Hospitals Enterprise went up by 4.66%, HealthCare Global Enterprises 4.44%, Narayana Hrudayalaya 2.95%, Thyrocare Technologies 1.25% and Shalby Ltd 0.06% on BSE. (PTI)

01 Feb 2018, 08:18:00 PM IST

Budget 2018 gives new wings to aspirations of poor: Amit Shah

BJP chief Amit Shah today said the Union Budget 2018 would ensure that development touched all sections of society and help the government realize its dream of a “New India” by 2022. Speaking to the media in New Delhi, Shah highlighted various budget provisions, especially those aimed at weaker sections, and said 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, he said, citing measures aimed at giving a boost to farmers, infrastructure, rural sector and small and medium enterprises. (PTI)

01 Feb 2018, 08:14:00 PM IST

DMK dubs budget ‘ornamental’, asks BJP regime to ‘introspect’

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the main opposition party in Tamil Nadu, today dubbed the Union Budget 2018 “ornamental”, and asked the BJP-led entre to introspect on its assurances which will show that it has been diverting the people’s attention through its “empty” promises. “The budget is just a compilation of ornamental announcements,” DMK working president M.K. Stalin said. (PTI)

01 Feb 2018, 08:08:00 PM IST

Sarbananda Sonowal hails union budget

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal today hailed the Union Budget 2018 terming it as people, farmer, development and welfare oriented that would address the needs of all sections of people in the country. “The budget submitted today in the Lok Sabha has all the elements to strengthen agriculture, rural development, health, education, employment, MSME and infrastructure sectors,” Sonowal said in a statement in Guwahati on Thursday. (PTI)

01 Feb 2018, 07:36:00 PM IST

Thankfully, NDA govt has only one more year: Rahul Gandhi

Congress president Rahul Gandhi today hit out at the government over Union Budget 2018, saying only promises were made in the past four years and “thankfully” just one year of the Narendra Modi dispensation is left.Taking to Twitter, Gandhi said four years of the NDA regime are over but it continues to only promise farmers about fair price to their produce. He alleged the government came out only with fancy schemes during this period and did not provide employment to the country’s youths.“4 years gone; still promising FARMERS a fair price. 4 years gone; FANCY SCHEMES, with NO matching budgets. 4 years gone; no JOBS for our YOUTH. Thankfully, only 1 more year to go. #Budget2018,” he said on Twitter. (PTI)

01 Feb 2018, 07:30:00 PM IST

Rahul Gandhi on Union Budget 2018

01 Feb 2018, 07:15:00 PM IST

Rupee crumbles 44 paise on LTCG tax, fiscal deficit woes

The rupee today plunged 44 paise to close at a near two-week low of 64.02 against the US dollar after the government announced LTCG tax on equities and widened its fiscal deficit target while unveiling the Union Budget 2018.Besides, forex market sentiment turned subdued after the government’s revised estimate showed that the net borrowing for the current fiscal was raised steeply to Rs4.79 trillion as against the estimate of Rs3.5 trillion. This is the biggest one-day fall for the rupee since January 16. (PTI)

01 Feb 2018, 06:38:00 PM IST

Not a people-friendly budget: Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee dismissed the Union Budget 2018 presented today as “negative and a super flop show” and said the “anti-people” BJP government is not fit for governance. “I am disheartened with the union budget. This is a hopeless, negative and super flop budget. It is a big bluff budget. I think this anti-people BJP government is not fit for governance,” she told reporters in Kolkata. (PTI)

01 Feb 2018, 06:21:00 PM IST

Chidambaram made economy bankrupt: Dharmendra Pradhan

01 Feb 2018, 05:51:00 PM IST

Union Budget 2018 is ‘defeatist’, a big letdown: Congress

Terming Budget 2018-19 “defeatist” and a “big letdown”, the Congress today said the government has “thrown in the towel” and conceded that it has failed to address key issues in the economy. The budget proposals should have been “bold and radical”, senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram said. “It is a defeatist budget. I think they have thrown in the towel. It is a budget of a government which has conceded that it has failed to address key issues in the economy... Unfortunately, the budget proposals are a big letdown,” Chidambaram told reporters in New Delhi. Chidambaram also picked holes in the government’s budgetary promise of providing insurance coverage of up to Rs5 lakh to 10 crore poor families and said it was a “big jumla” (gimmick). “The finance minister fails the fiscal consolidation test and this failure will have serious consequences,” Chidambaram had told PTI earlier in the day, soon after finance minister Arun Jaitley completed his budget speech. The Centre today announced the world’s largest government funded health care programme, aimed at benefiting 10 crore poor families by providing coverage of up to Rs5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation. The National Health Protection Scheme, announced by finance minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget for 2018-19, will cover approximately 50 crore people. (PTI)

01 Feb 2018, 05:44:00 PM IST

E-assessment of taxpayers income to be launched soon: CBDT chief

CBDT chief Sushil Chandra has said that salaried taxpayers, pensioners need no documents or bills to claim Rs40,000 standard income tax deduction on travel and medical expenses. He also said that the Income Tax department has sufficient technology to check tax evasion and black money and action against these are being consolidated. Chandra also said that the e-assessment of taxpayers income scheme will be framed and launched very soon in the country. (PTI)

01 Feb 2018, 05:39:00 PM IST

Rahul Gandhi criticises budget, questions Modi govt’s policy on raising farm income

01 Feb 2018, 05:32:00 PM IST

Little relief for salaried class despite Rs40000 deduction

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today provided little relief to salaried class as benefits under the proposed Rs40,000 standard deduction will be neutralised to a large extent by inclusion of transport and medical allowances and 1% hike in health and education cess. Already the individual tax payer was getting benefit of Rs19,200 under transport allowance and Rs15,000 under the medical allowance. Both these components add to the tax benefit of Rs34,200 per annum. So, the effective tax gain is to the tune of Rs5,800 per annum with the introduction of standard deduction. According to Parizad Sirwalla, partner (tax), KPMG, the withdrawal of annual tax free transport allowance and medical reimbursements has squared off the benefit on account of standard deduction. “An annual incremental net reduction of Rs 5,800 in income results into tax savings of Rs302 and Rs2,081,” Sirwalla said. At the same time, Sirwalla said, maximum tax rate overall has increased to 35.88% from existing 35.53% taking into account 1% increase in education cess. (PTI)

01 Feb 2018, 05:29:00 PM IST

Rs2 excise cut on petrol, diesel prices converted into cess: Hasmukh Adhia

01 Feb 2018, 05:01:00 PM IST

Govt trying to hoodwink people, has polls on its mind: Left parties

The Left parties today called the budget a “big jumla” (rhetoric) of the government which has elections on its mind. “This budget, being the last one for this government, clearly shows it is announcing the schemes keeping in mind the coming Lok Sabha polls. “It is a campaign for them. We consider it as a ‘big jumla’. We think it is an election campaign as talks are going on for early elections,” CPI(M) Lok Sabha leader Mohd Salim told reporters in New Delhi. CPI leader D. Raja said the Union budget shows the “desperate attempts of the government to hoodwink the people” in 2018, in which several state polls will take place and “probably the Lok Sabha polls too”. “It is not a growth-oriented budget. There is no certain attempts for employment generation. The government has talked about doubling the farmer’s income, but for that the agricultural growth should increase up to 12 per cent. That is not there,” Raja said. (PTI)

01 Feb 2018, 04:47:00 PM IST

Budget in spirit of sabka saath, sabka vikaas: Amit Shah

01 Feb 2018, 04:21:00 PM IST

Arun Jaitley post-budget press conference: Highlights

Finance minister Arun Jaitley addresses the media after presenting the Union Budget 2018-19. Here are the highlights from his press conference:■ Agriculture and rural economy have been given high priority in the New India Budget. It blends fiscal prudence with the requirements and needs to the economy.■ New India Budget proposes an institutional mechanism to fix the emoluments of the elected members, thereby addressing the criticism that they fix their own salaries.■ Confident of limiting the fiscal deficit target for 2018-19 within 3.3%, finance minister Arun Jaitley replied to a a media query, citing that full 12 months of GST revenue will be accessible to meet the target.■ Contribution of the salaried class has been recognized for the first time. Step by step, in every budget, I have been putting surplus money in the hands of the middle-class taxpayer.■ Niti Aayog will devise a mechanism to increase the Minimum Support Price for crops to 1.5 times of production cost, as promised in the New India Budget; to be done in consultation with the states.

01 Feb 2018, 04:06:00 PM IST

BMS calls Union Budget 2018 ‘disappointing’, to hold demonstration tomorrow

01 Feb 2018, 03:42:00 PM IST

Modicare can be more successful than Obamacare, says FM Jaitley in post-budget interview

Highlighting the healthcare announcements in the Union Budget 2018, FM Arun Jaitley said that “Modicare can be more successful than Obamacare.” He was speaking to Doordarshan News after his budget speech.“Our healthcare policies are very promising. If we manage to reach even 10 crore Indians, the world will consider Modicare more successful than Obamacare,” says Jaitley.Hundred million poor and vulnerable families will get insurance cover of as much as Rs5 lakh each under a National Health Protection Scheme unveiled by finance minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech on Thursday.The insurance scheme, billed as the world’s largest government-funded healthcare programme and seen as a precursor to universal health coverage, can be used to pay for hospitalisation and treatment in secondary and tertiary care facilities.“This will help in extending healthcare to at least 50 crore people in the country,” Jaitley said.

01 Feb 2018, 03:26:00 PM IST

Aim to bring down corporate tax to 25%: Jaitley in post-budget interview

Union finance minister Arun Jaitley’s responds to questions on Union Budget 2018 in an interview with Doordarshan News. Here are the main highlights from the interview:■ In the first four Budgets, I had a series of structural changes... This is the year of consolidation.■ On fiscal deficit target: The principal reason for this slippage is statistical due to switch-over due related to GST.■ My eventual roadmap is to bring down the corporate tax to 25%. Exemptions to big companies would gradually go, can’t suddenly reduce exemptions.■ Long term capital gains on equities has come at an opportune time. We have not left any scope for retrospect taxation in this regard.

01 Feb 2018, 03:18:00 PM IST

Nitish Kumar applauds Union Budget 2018 on agriculture and health counts

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar today lauded the Union Budget, saying it contained appreciable initiatives for the agriculture and health sectors. “I could not listen to the entire budget speech of (Finance Minister) Arun Jaitley, but heard the parts relating to agriculture, health and education. The finance minister deserves applause on these counts,” he told reporters here. The JD(U) chief lauded Jaitley’s announcement that the minimum support price for Kharif crops would be calculated by adding 50% to the production cost and that a similar formula would be adopted for the other crops. “In the health sector, the announcement of a Rs five lakh healthcare cover for 10 crore poor families is a huge initiative. The move would, in effect, benefit about 50 crore people. I congratulate Jaitley on this count as well,” Kumar said. (PTI)

01 Feb 2018, 03:11:00 PM IST

Govt has presented an election budget: Shiv Sena

Keeping in mind the Lok Sabha polls due next year, the Centre has presented an “election budget” and it had to take “desperate measures” following criticism over the GST, note ban and the Gujarat polls results, Shiv Sena leaders said today. “This is a budget for the election. Hence, the focus has been shifted from industries to farmers, healthcare and education,” Sena MP Arvind Sawant told PTI. He added that the Sena had aggressively been demanding that farmers, who had lost their produce due to climate change, be compensated and their loans waived.Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande claimed that the Centre had taken “desperate” measures, following criticism over the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rollout, demonetisation and the BJP’s reduced numbers in the Gujarat Assembly polls.

01 Feb 2018, 02:53:00 PM IST

BJP ministers react on finance minister Arun Jaitley’s budget

Finance minister Arun Jaitley’s Union Budget 2018 has received positive reviews from BJP ministers, leaders and other NDA allies, whereas the Congress-led opposition has pointed at grey areas in the budget. Union home minister Rajnath Singh has called the budget “grand”, while Nitin Gadkari has termed medical insurance for all as “historic.”“Its a grand budget, lot of announcements for the poor, farmers and tribals. This budget will also cement India as a global economic power,” ANI quoted Singh as saying.“Medical insurance of Rs 5 lakh for 10 crore families is a huge initiative. This is a historic budget,” the agency quoted Gadkari.Another BJP minister MJ Akbar questioned the stand of the opposition in his response to ANI.“In the 1 hour 45 minute speech, 1 hour was for the poor, this is indeed historic. The opposition has become too pessimistic,” Akbar said.Railways minister Piyush Goyal said the budget is “balanced” and serves every section of society.“Its a balanced budget which is for every section of society, especially the focus on farmers and health services of the poor. Economy will also get a boost.I congratulate PM Modi and FM Jaitley,” Goyal said.

01 Feb 2018, 02:47:00 PM IST

Rajya Sabha adjourns after FM tables budget

Finance minister Arun Jaitley today tabled a copy of the Union budget for 2018-19 along with the estimated receipts and expenditure of the government in the Rajya Sabha. The statements included those on the macro-economic framework, the medium-term fiscal policy and the fiscal policy strategy for the year 2018-19. After the presentation of the budget, Rajya Sabha chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu adjourned the House for the day. The House will meet tomorrow. After the House was adjourned, former prime minister Manmohan Singh walked up to the finance minister and greeted him for his budget presentation. Members of various parties, including those from the BJP, also greeted Jaitley, who later met the Chairman in his office. (PTI)

01 Feb 2018, 09:20:00 AM IST

Union Budget a “super flop”: TMC’s Derek O’Brien

Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Derek O’Brien today termed the Union Budget as a “super flop” and a “dying declaration” of a government whose “time is up”. His comments came after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the 2018-19 Budget in the Lok Sabha. This is the government’s last full Budget before the general elections. “It is a super flop, a big bluff show. This Budget is the dying declaration of a government whose time is up,” the TMC leader said. (PTI)

01 Feb 2018, 02:14:00 PM IST

Devendra Fadnavis says budget will boost economy, infrastructure

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis today hailed the Union Budget, saying it was a big boost to sectors like infrastructure, economy, health care and job creation. Fadnavis said the provision of Rs40,000 crore for enhancing the transportation in Mumbai with the expansion of suburban railway system and new airports was a big boost to the infrastructure sector and the economy. He termed as “historical” the decision to increase farmers’ income. “With an aim to put more money in farmers’ pockets, the Centre has decided to increase the minimum support price (MSP) of all crops by at least 1.5 times of the production cost,” he noted. He also welcomed the target of Rs3 trillion for loan disbursement under the Mudra scheme in the next fiscal. “The Mudra loan has been given to more than 10 crore people, of whom seven crore are women and five crore are from the scheduled castes and other backward classes,” he said. Fadnavis also welcomed the government’s initiative to launch the National Health Protection scheme to cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable people. (PTI)

01 Feb 2018, 01:41:00 PM IST

Budget measures not sufficient for farmers, says HD Dewe Gowda

01 Feb 2018, 01:35:00 PM IST

PM Modi on Union Budget 2018: Main highlights

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is now speaking on finance minister Arun Jaitley’s budget. Here are the main highlights from PM Modi’s reactions:■ I congratulate the finance minister and his team for presenting a budget which will help strengthen ‘New India’ vision. From food processing to fiber optics, roads to shipping, youth to senior citizen, rural India to Ayushmaan Bharat, Digital India to Start Up India, this budget strengthens hopes and aspirations of crores of Indians.■ This Budget is farmer friendly, common citizen friendly, business environment friendly and development friendly. It will add to ‘Ease of Living’. ■ The farmers, Dalits, tribal communities will gain from this Budget. The Budget will bring new opportunities for rural India.■ I congratulate the Finance Minister for the decision regarding MSP. I am sure it will help farmers tremendously. ■ PM says farmers, Dalits, tribal communities will gain from the budget, which will create new opportunities for rural India. ■ I am pleased that while expanding the Ujjwala Yojana, its target has now been increased from 5 crore families to 8 crore. (PTI)

01 Feb 2018, 01:33:00 PM IST

Farmer, common citizen, business, development friendly budget, says PM Modi

01 Feb 2018, 01:19:00 PM IST

Full text of finance minister Arun Jaitley’s budget speech

Read full text of finance minister Arun Jaitley’s Union Budget 2018 speech is available here.

01 Feb 2018, 01:18:00 PM IST

More budget allocation to help increase farmer income: Harsimrat Kaur Badal

Food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said the government’s decision to double ministry’s budget allocation to Rs1,400 crore for next fiscal will boost farmers income and generate million of new jobs. Finance minister Arun Jaitley today announced that the allocation of food processing to Rs1,400 crore for next fiscal from Rs715 crore in this fiscal. The food processing sector is growing at 8%, Jaitley said in his budget speech. “Thank you, @arunjaitley Ji, for Doubling the Budget Allocation for Ministry Of Food Processing. This will immensely benefit farmers in availing various food processing related schemes and increasing their income. Will also generate millions of new jobs,” Badal tweeted. In another tweet, she welcomed the government’s decision to increase farmers income by giving 1.5 times cost incurred to farmers as MSP. “No more potatoes on streets and crop-selling at loss,” she said. (PTI)

01 Feb 2018, 01:16:00 PM IST

Budget pays lip service to farmers, says Congress’ Manish Tiwari

01 Feb 2018, 01:09:00 PM IST

FM fails fiscal consolidation test: Chidambaram on Union Budget 2018

Responding on Union Budget 2018, former finance minister and Congress leader P. Chidambaram says the Modi govt has failed fiscal consolidation test and that will have serious consequences. “FM fails fiscal consolidation test, this failure will have serious consequences,” PTI quoted Chidambaram as saying.

01 Feb 2018, 01:02:00 PM IST

Lok Sabha adjourned for the day, to meet on Monday

Finance minister Arun Jaitley concluded his speech by saying: “We have been guided to strengthen health, education, employment sectors in Budget 2018. I am sure that the New India which we aspire, will now emerge.”Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourns the lower house for the day. The House will meet on Monday as it won’t sit tomorrow in honour of departed member Chintaman Vanga. (PTI)

01 Feb 2018, 12:53:00 PM IST

Sensex tanks over 300 points after Jaitley’s LTCG tax announcement

Sensex tanks over 300 points after finance minister announces 10% tax on some long-term capital gains from equity market. Track live updates from markets here.

01 Feb 2018, 12:42:00 PM IST

Arun Jaitley budget speech: LTCG tax announcement for gains over Rs1 lakh

Finance minister Arun Jaitley is giving his budget speech in Lok Sabha. Here are the main highlights of his speech:■ Long-term capital gains in equities exceeding Rs 1 lakh to be taxed at the rate of 10%.■ All senior citizens can claim benefit of reduction Rs50,000/ year with respect to any general health expenditure and health insurance premium.■ Standard deduction of Rs 40,000 for salaried employees in lieu of transport and medical expenses.■ Propose to introduce tax on distributed income by equity oriented mutual funds at 10%■ For senior citizens, exemption of interest income on bank deposits raised to Rs50,000.■ Education and health cess to be increased from 3% to 4%.■ Rs 7.5 lakh per senior citizen limit for investment in interest-bearing LIC schemes doubled to Rs 15 lakh, says FM.■ Customs duty on mobile phones increases to 20% form the current 15%.■ New scheme for providing electronic assessment to eliminate person-to-person contact, says FM.■ Customs duty on raw cashew cut form 5% to 2.5%, says FM

01 Feb 2018, 12:34:00 PM IST

Arun Jaitley budget speech: Finance minister on taxation

Finance minister Arun Jaitley is giving his budget speech in Lok Sabha. Here are the main highlights of his speech:■ No change in income tax slabs has been announced by the FM Jaitley, but assesses can avail of a standard deduction of Rs40,000. “Govt has made many positive changes in the personal income tax rates applicable to individuals in the last three years therefore I do not wish to make any changes to this,” Jaitley said.■ Tax payer base has risen from 6.47 crore in 2014-15 to 8.27 crore in 2016-17. More payers joining tax net but turnover not encouraging.■ Demonetisation was received by honest tax-payers as ‘Imaandari ka Utsav’.■ Propose to extend 25% corporate tax rate to companies with revenue up to Rs250 crore.

01 Feb 2018, 12:29:00 PM IST

Arun Jaitley budget speech: Govt initiated disinvestment in 24 PSUs

Finance minister Arun Jaitley is giving his budget speech in Lok Sabha. Here are the main highlights of his speech:■ GST revenue for 2017-18 will be for 11 months; shortfall of non-tax revenue due to deferment of spectrum auction: FM.■ National Insurance Co, Oriental Insurance Co and United Assurance Co to be merged into one entity and subsequently listed.■ To provide RBI an instrument to deal with excess liquidity, RBI Act and other laws being amended.■ Govt has initiated strategic disinvestment in 24 PSUs, including Air India.■ Food Corporation of India capital being restructured, says FM. Govt to bring out industry-friendly defence production policy■ Govt will evolve a scheme to provide a unique ID to every enterprise on lines of Aadhaar, says FM.Propose 100% tax rebate for farmer producer companies having a turnover of Rs. 100 crore.

01 Feb 2018, 12:23:00 PM IST

Arun Jaitley budget speech: Fiscal deficit targets revised for FY18 and FY19

Finance minister Arun Jaitley is giving his budget speech in Lok Sabha. Here are the main highlights of his speech:■ Fiscal deficit estimate for 2017-18 is 3.5% of GDP, fiscal deficit of 3.3% expected for 2018-19, says FM Jaitley.■ Rs80,000 crore disinvestment target for 2018-19; target for 2017-18 exceeded and will reach Rs1 trillion.■ Govt will monetise select central public sector enterprises using Infrastructure Investment Trusts, says FM.■ Tax buoyancy more than expected, thanks to greater compliance. ■ Gold monetisation scheme being revamped so that people can open gold deposit accounts in a hassle-free manner.

01 Feb 2018, 12:12:00 PM IST

Arun Jaitley budget speech: Will remove use of cryptocurrencies in illegal transactions

Finance minister Arun Jaitley is giving his budget speech in Lok Sabha. Here are the main highlights of his speech:■ Sebi may consider mandating large corporates to use bond market to finance one-fourth of their fund needs, says FM.■ Will take all steps to eliminate the use of Crypto-Currencies, will encourage Blockchain technology in payment systems:.■ Govt has identified 372 specific business reform actions to improve ease of doing business; Evaluation of performance under this programme to be based on user feedback.

01 Feb 2018, 12:09:00 PM IST

Arun Jaitley budge speech: Govt to allocate over Rs 1.48 trillion for railways

Finance minister Arun Jaitley is giving his budget speech in Lok Sabha. Here are the main highlights of his speech:■ Rs 50 trillion needed for infrastructure building, says FM.■ Govt to allocate Rs 7,140 crore for textiles sector in 2018-19: FM.■ 99 cities selected for smart cities project with an outlay of Rs 2.04 trillion, says FM.■ 10 prominent tourist sites to be developed as iconic tourist spots, says FM.■ National Highways exceeding 9,000-km will be completed in 2018-19, says FM.■ Over Rs 1.48 trillion to be allocated for railways in next fiscal: FM. ■ 36,000-km of rail track renewal targeted in coming year, says FM■ 4,267 unmanned railway crossings on broad gauge routes to be eliminated in next two years.■ Wifi, CCTVs to be progressively provided at all trains; escalators at stations with 25,000-plus footfall, says FM. Focus will be on safety, maintenance of railway tracks, increase in use of technology and fog safety devices■ Regional air connectivity scheme shall connect 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved helipads: FM■ Govt to expand capacity of airports by five times to cater to one billion trips a year.■ 5 lakh WiFi hotspots to be set up in rural areas to provide easy Internet access.

01 Feb 2018, 12:06:00 PM IST

70 lakh formal jobs created this year, says Arun Jaitley in budget speech

01 Feb 2018, 12:02:00 PM IST

Arun Jaitley budget speech: Govt scheme soon to address NPAs

Finance minister Arun Jaitley is giving his budget speech in Lok Sabha. Here are the main highlights of his speech:■ Govt to soon announce scheme to address the issue of Non-Performing Assets: Jaitley.■ Target for loan disbursement under Mudra scheme set at Rs 3 lakh crore for next fiscal.■ Mass formalisation of MSME sector is happening after demonetization and GST.■ Govt to take additional measures to strengthen environment for venture capitalists and angel investors.■ Employees PF Act to be amended to reduce contribution of women to 8% from 12% with no change in employer’s contribution, says FM.

01 Feb 2018, 12:01:00 PM IST

Arun Jaitley budget speech: Govt to increase digital intensity in education

Finance minister Arun Jaitley is giving his budget speech in Lok Sabha. Here are the main highlights of his speech:■ Education to be treated holistically without segmentation from class nursery to 12th, says FM.■ To increase digital intensity in education; to move from blackboard to digital board. ■ By 2022, every block with more than 50% ST population will have Ekalvya schools at par with Navodaya Vidyalayas: FM.■ Govt to launch Prime Minister’s Research Fellow Scheme which will identify 1000 B.Tech students to do Ph.D at IITs etc.: FM.■ Two new schools of planning and architecture to be set up; 18 more in IITs and NIITs, says Jaitley. PTI ■ Rs 4.6 trillion sanctioned under MUDRA Scheme, says FM.

01 Feb 2018, 11:47:00 AM IST

Arun Jaitley budget speech: Govt to take healthcare to new aspirational level

Finance minister Arun Jaitley is giving his budget speech in Lok Sabha. Here are the main highlights of his speech:■ Govt’s budget for health, education and social security increased to Rs1.38 trillion for 2018-19 from Rs1.22 trillion in current fiscal: FM. ■ Have decided to take healthcare protection to a new aspirational level. Launching a flagship National Health Protection Scheme to cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable families, benefiting approx. Rs 50 crore.■ Providing 5 lakh rupees per family per year for medical reimbursement, under National Health Protection Scheme. This will be world’s largest health protection scheme.■ Rs1,200 crore to be allocated for Ayushman Bharat programme in 2018-19, says FM Jaitley.■ The Government is slowly but steadily progressing towards universal health coverage.■ One Govt. medical college to be ensured for every 3 parliamentary constituencies by upgrading 24 district-level colleges.■ Govt to allocate Rs 600 crore towards nutritional support of tuberculosis patients: FM.

01 Feb 2018, 11:41:00 AM IST

Arun Jaitley budget speech: Affordable healthcare for all

01 Feb 2018, 11:38:00 AM IST

Arun Jaitley budget speech: Govt to promote affordable housing

Finance minister Arun Jaitley is giving his budget speech in Lok Sabha. Here are the main highlights of his speech:■ Agriculture ministry will reorient ongoing programmes to promote cluster-based horticulture production, says FM.■ Food processing sector growing at 8% and the allocation for food processing ministry being doubled to Rs1400 crore.■ India’s agriculture export potential is $100 billion as against current $30 billion exports, says FM.■ Kisan credit card facility extended to fisheries and animal husbandry sectors, says FM.■ Surplus power produced by solar-powered generators used by farmers will be bought by state distribution utilities: FM■ Air Pollution in Delhi NCR is a cause for concern, special scheme will be implemented to support Govts of Haryana, Punjab,UP and Delhi NCT to address it and subsidize machinery for management of crop residue.■ Rs16,000 crore to be spent on providing electricity connection to 4 crore poor households, says FM.■ Govt to provide free LPG connection to 8 crore women under Ujjwala scheme, up from earlier target of 5 crore, says FM.■ 1 crore houses to be built under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in rural areas, says FM. Govt to establish a dedicated affordable housing fund under National Housing Bank for priority sector lending.■ Over six crore toilets built under Swachh Bharat Mission and the govt will build another two crore toilets, says FM Jaitley.

01 Feb 2018, 11:33:00 AM IST

Arun Jaitley budget speech: Exports seen growing at 15% in 2017-18

Finance minister Arun Jaitley today said the country’s exports are likely to expand by about 15% during the current fiscal. “Our exports are expected to grow at about 15% in 2017-18,” he said while presenting Union Budget 2018-19 here. The country’s merchandise shipments rose 12.36% to $27.03 billion in December 2017. Cumulatively, exports during April-December 2017-18 grew by 12.05% to $223.512 billion. Total exports value was recorded at $274.64 billion in 2016-17, up from $262.29 billion in the preceding year. Currently, the government provides export incentives through two schemes—merchandise and services export from India scheme. In December last year, the government announced incentives worth Rs8,450 crore to boost exports of goods and services, mainly from labour-intensive sectors. (PTI)

01 Feb 2018, 11:27:00 AM IST

Arun Jaitley budget speech: Manufacturing sector is back on growth path

Finance minister Arun Jaitley is giving his budget speech in Lok Sabha. Here are the main highlights of his speech:■ Manufacturing sector is back on growth path; Exports are expected to grow by 15% in 2017-18.■ India produced over 275 million tonnes of foodgrains and 300 million tonnes of fruits and vegetables in 2016-17.■ Crop production at record high; govt is committed to giving 50% more than cost of crop production to farmers.■ Govt to set MSP at one-and-half times the cost of production for Kharif crops.■ Govt will ensure farmers get MSP if prices fall; Niti Aayog will discuss with state govts for mechanism to ensure farmers get better prices.■ Rs 2,000 crore fund to be set up for upgrading rural agri markets.■ Govt has promoted organic farmers in a big way; women self-help groups to be encouraged to take up organic farming.

01 Feb 2018, 11:24:00 AM IST

Arun Jaitley budget speech: We consider agriculture as an enterprise

01 Feb 2018, 11:21:00 AM IST

Arun Jaitley budget speech: FM on agriculture economy

Finance minister Arun Jaitley is giving his budget speech in Lok Sabha. Here are the main highlights of his speech:■ Indian economy has performed very well since our Govt took over in may 2014, It is now the seventh largest in the world. The emphasis is on generating higher income for farmers and we want to help farmers produce more and realise higher prices.■ Agri-Market Development Fund with a corpus of 2000 crore to be set up for developing agricultural markets.■ 470 APMCs have been connected to eNAM network, the rest to be connected by March 2018.■ The Minimum Support Price of all crops shall be increased to at least 1.5 times that of the production cost.■ Cooking gas being given free to poor under PMUY, 4 crore unconnected being provided electricity connection, stent prices slashed.■ Propose launch of a restructure national bamboo mission with Rs1200 crore,while Rs10,000 crore has been allocated to fisheries and animal husbandry sector.■ Government proposes to launch ‘Operation Greens’ on the lines of Operation Flood’.■ Proposed to raise institutional credit for agriculture to Rs11 trillion for 2018-19.

01 Feb 2018, 11:16:00 AM IST

Arun Jaitley budget speech: We are on path to achieve 8% plus growth

Finance minister Arun Jaitley is giving his budget speech in Lok Sabha. Here are the main highlights of his speech:■ FDI has gone up and it is easier to do business in India. We are now a $ 2.5 trillion economy, and we are firmly on path to achieve 8% plus growth soon.■ From ease of doing business, our govt has moved to ease of living for the poor and middle class.■ When our govt took over India was considered one of the fragile five economies of the world; we have reversed it; India is today fastest growing economy.■ Demonetisation has reduced cash in economy, promoted digital transactions.■ Economy to grow by 7.2-7.5 per cent in second half of current fiscal. Exports to grow by 17% in 2017-18. Budget will focus on strengthening agricultural and rural economy.■ PM has articulated the vision of minimum government, maximum governance.

01 Feb 2018, 11:06:00 AM IST

Arun Jaitley budget speech: Modi govt has successfully implemented structural reforms

Finance minister Arun Jaitley is giving his budget speech in Lok Sabha. Here are the main highlights of his speech:■ Our government has successfully implemented structural reforms under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.■ With the introduction of the goods and services tax (GST), the indirect tax system has been made simpler.■ Indian economy has performed very well since our Govt took over in may 2014, It is now the seventh largest in the world.■ We are allocating natural resources in a more transparent manner, there is a premium on honesty now.■ We hope to grow at 7.2% - 7.5% in the second half of 2017-18. Direct Benefit Transfer is a global success story.

01 Feb 2018, 10:58:00 AM IST

Arun Jaitley has started his budget speech in parliament

Finance minister Arun Jaitley has started his budget speech in Parliament after a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The Union Budget 2018 has been approved by the parliament.

01 Feb 2018, 10:39:00 AM IST

Cabinet meeting over at parliament, Jaitley budget speech at 11am

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired cabinet meeting ahead of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s budget speech has ended, All India Radio reports.

01 Feb 2018, 10:18:00 AM IST

Modi arrives at parliament, to hold cabinet meeting shortly

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at parliament and will hold a cabinet meeting shortly, reports All India Radio.

01 Feb 2018, 10:12:00 AM IST

Arun Jaitley arrives at parliament to present Union Budget 2018

01 Feb 2018, 09:48:00 AM IST

Budget papers arrive in parliament

01 Feb 2018, 09:38:00 AM IST

FM Arun Jaitley calls on President Ram Nath Kovind ahead of budget presentation

01 Feb 2018, 09:33:00 AM IST

Markets open on positive note ahead of Union Budget

BSE Sensex started on a positive note today ahead of the Modi government’s last budget. The Sensex, jumped nearly 135 points to 36,100, while the Nifty was up over 40 points to 11,068. Track live updates here.

01 Feb 2018, 09:00:00 AM IST

It will be a good budget, will be for the benefit of the common people: Shiv Pratap Shukla

01 Feb 2018, 08:52:00 AM IST

Modi govt has diminished the railways’ importance: Pawan Bansal

“I’m not against merging of two budgets but the government has diminished the railways’ importance. Earlier there was a separate Railway Budget, the government used to make announcements and there was scrutiny in Parliament. Now only 4-5 ministries are discussed,” says Pawan Bansal, former railway minister.“They speak about bullet trains but it was actually started by Manmohan Singh. It’s good if it begins but merely plying it for 500-576 km won’t benefit the entire India. It’ll only connect Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Remote areas need trains. What are they doing for that?” questioned Bansal on the government’s initiative to introduce bullet trains in India. (HT)

01 Feb 2018, 08:45:00 AM IST

Sonia Gandhi to convene opposition meet today in bid to build anti-BJP front

Sonia Gandhi, former Congress party president, has convened a meeting of all opposition parties on Thursday to attempt to forge an anti-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance. The political development is interesting as both the Congress and NCP are trying to bring together opposition parties under one umbrella. Read more

01 Feb 2018, 08:42:00 AM IST

GST e-way bill to go live on budget day, industry fears disruption

The e-way bill, key to preventing tax evasion under the goods and services tax (GST), will be rolled out nationwide from Thursday, the day finance minister Arun Jaitley will present the Union Budget 2018, amid persistent concerns in some quarters that its enforcement could trigger fresh economic disruption. Read more

01 Feb 2018, 08:40:00 AM IST

Union Budget 2018-19 schedule

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