union budget

Arun Jaitley's Budget focuses on rural India, poor


Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who presented the much-awaited Union Budget on Monday, announced several schemes to benefit India's rural pockets and poor.

He listed 'nine pillars' including tax reforms, promoting ease of doing business and ensuring fiscal discipline, that will transform India.

Unveiling the Budget 2016-17, he said the pillars also include emphasis on governance reforms. The other pillars, he added, include focus on agriculture and rural areas with a view to doubling farm income by 2022.

Besides, he said, government will lay greater emphasis on social sectors, education and skill building and job creation for building a knowledge based and productive economy.

The government, Jaitley said, will also focus on infrastructure investment, financial sector reforms, fiscal discipline and tax reforms to reduce compliance burden.

Major announcements

The finance minister announced Rs 38, 500 crore for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act, which is the highest ever. And he has announced another Rs 87,700 crore for rural development, promising to double the income of farmers in next five years.

He has promised 100 per cent electrification of villages by May 2018, besides announcing the launch of digital literacy scheme to cover 6 crore additional rural households. And Rs 2.87 lakh crore will be given as grants-in-aid to village panchyats and municipalities to boost rural economy.

Meanwhile, he said that the government will spend Rs 850 crore in a few years on animal husbandry, cattle and livestock breeding.

He also earmarked Rs 9,000 crore for Prime Minister's flagship programme Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and has promised to reward villages that has succeeded in ensuring zero open defecation.

Jaitley's Budget also appeals to India's poor. He has announced a new scheme of Rs 2000 crore to proivde LPG connections to the household to the BPL families. He also noted that 75 lakh families have given up their subsidised LPG connections, a PM Modi's initiative, to enable poor to have access to the clean energy.

Meanwhile, he announced a sum of Rs 30,000 crore to launch a health protection scheme.

And he also announced Rs 500 crore under Start-up India initiative to aid entrepreneurs from SC/ST communities.

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