Large funding for smart cities
A sum of Rs 7,060 crore has been allocated in the financial year to develop new cities in which to accommodate the country's burgeoning population, to convert into reality the prime minister's vision of developing 'one hundred smart cities' as satellite towns of larger cities, and to modernise existing mid-sized cities.
To boost tourism in India an e-facility of Electronic Travel Authorisation (e-Visa) will be introduced in a phased manner at nine airports in India where necessary infrastructure will be put in place within the next six months. The countries to which the e-Visa facility will be extended will be identified in a phased manner. This will further facilitate the visa-on-arrival facility.
Kisan Vikas Patra to be reintroduced
The government plans to reintroduce the Kisan Vikas Patra, which was a very popular instrument among small savers, to encourage people who may have banked and unbanked savings, to invest in this instrument.
New multi-skill programme
A new national multi-skill programme called Skill India will skill the youth, with emphasis on employability and entrepreneurial skills. It will also provide training and support for traditional professions like welders, carpenters, cobblers, masons, blacksmiths, weavers.
Irrigation scheme in rainfed areas
With the bulk of farm lands dependent on monsoons, there is a need to provide assured irrigation to mitigate risk. In order to improve access to irrigation a new scheme - Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana - will be launched with a sum of Rs 1,000 crore.
New sanitation scheme to cover all households
The government intends to cover every household with a total sanitation programme by 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, through a new programme called the Swatch Bharat Abhiyan.
New push towards health for all
To move towards 'Health for All', two key initiatives - Free Drug Service and Free Diagnosis Service - will be taken up on priority. In order to achieve universal access to early quality diagnosis and treatment to TB patients, two National Institutes of Ageing will be set up at AIIMS, New Delhi, and Madras Medical College, Chennai.
More AIIMS-like institutions on the anvil
A plan to set up four more AIIMS-like institutions in Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Vidarbha in Maharashtra and Poorvanchal in UP is under consideration, for which Rs 500 crore is being set aside. Also, 58 government medical colleges have been approved.
Tourist circuits to be developed
Rs 500 crore has been allocated for development of tourism in five tourist circuits.
Rs 100 crore has been set aside for a National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive. A sum of
Rs 200 crore will be kept for the National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana, launched for conserving and preserving the heritage characters of cities such as Mathura, Amritsar, Gaya, Kanchipuram, Vellankani and Ajmer.
Broadband connectivity for rural India
A new pan-India programme, Digital India, with a corpus of Rs 500 crore, is to be launched to ensure broadband connectivity at the village level. A National Rural Internet and Technology Mission for services in villages and schools, training in IT skills and E-Kranti for government service delivery and governance is also proposed.
Push towards agricultural varsities
The government will establish two more agricultural institutions of excellence, in Assam and Jharkhand, with an initial sum of Rs 100 crore. It is also setting aside a similar amount for setting up an 'Agri-Tech Infrastructure Fund'. Also, agriculture universities will be established in Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan and horticulture universities in Telangana and Haryana.
Boost to inland navigation
A project on the river Ganga called 'Jal Marg Vikas' (National Waterways-I) is to be developed between Allahabad and Haldia to cover a distance of 1,620 km. This will facilitate commercial navigation of at least 1,500-tonne vessels. The project will be completed over six years, at an estimated cost of Rs 4,200 crore.
Promoting clean energy
Rs 500 crore has been allocated for ultra mega solar power projects in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Ladakh. Another Rs 400 crore will be set aside to launch a scheme for solar power-driven agricultural pump sets and water pumping stations for energising 100,000 pumps. Another Rs 100 crore will be allocated for development of 1-Mw solar parks.
Money for sacred rivers
An integrated Ganga Conservation Mission, called Namami Gange, will get Rs 2,037 crore. Rs 100 crore has been set aside for ghat development and beautification of river fronts at Kedarnath, Haridwar, Kanpur, Varanasi, Allahabad, Patna and Delhi. Also, an NRI Fund for the Ganga will be set up.
Relief to small taxpayers, senior citizens
To provide relief to small and marginal taxpayers and senior citizens, the personal income tax exemption limit has been increased by Rs 50,000 - from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh in the case of individual taxpayers below the age of 60 years. For senior citizens, the exemption limit has been raised from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3 lakh.
Investment limit under section 80C hiked
To encourage domestic investment in long-term savings and thus boost economic growth, the investment limit under section 80C of the Income Tax Act has been increased from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh.
Relief on housing loans
To reduce the high cost of housing finance for the middle and lower-middle classes, the deduction limit on account of interest on loans in respect of self-occupied house property is being increased from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh.
Investment allowance for manufacturing firms
To incentivise smaller entrepreneurs, an investment allowance will be provided at 15 per cent to manufacturing companies that invest more than Rs 25 crore in any year in new plant and machinery. This benefit will be available for three years - for investments up to March 31, 2017.
10-year tax holiday for power firms extended
To help investors plan their investments better, annual extensions are being dropped and the 10-year tax holiday is being extended to undertakings which begin generation, distribution and transmission of power by March 31, 2017.
Relief for foreign portfolio investors
To put an end to the uncertainty felt by foreign portfolio investors, who remain outside India under the apprehension that their presence in the country might have adverse tax consequences, and to encourage them to shift, income arising to foreign portfolio investors from transactions in securities will be treated as capital gains.
15% tax on foreign dividends stays
This concessional rate of tax of 15 per cent on dividends received by Indian companies from their foreign subsidiaries is to be retained without any sunset date, because it has resulted in enhanced repatriation of funds from abroad.
Date for low-cost borrowing extended
The eligible date for borrowing in low-cost long-term foreign currency borrowing has been extended from June 30, 2016 to June 30, 2017, for a concessional tax rate of five per cent on interest payments. This tax incentive is also being extended to all types of bonds and not only infrastructure bonds.
More Aykar Seva Kendras to be opened
A number of Aykar Seva Kendras have been opened in different parts of the country, to enable the income tax department to function as not only an enforcement agency but a facilitator. This facility will be extended by opening 60 more such seva kendras during the current financial year, to promote excellence in service delivery.
Rurban mission for rural infrastructure
Taking its cue from Gujarat, a new scheme - Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission - will be launched to deliver integrated project-based infrastructure in the rural areas. It will also include development of economic activities and skill development. The preferred mode of delivery would be through public-private partnerships, while using various scheme funds for financing.
Schemes for welfare of SCs, STs
Rs 50,548 crore has been allocated for Scheduled Castes and Rs 32,387 crore for Scheduled Tribes. To provide credit enhancement facility for young start-up entrepreneurs from the SCs, Rs 200 crore is being operationalised through a scheme by IFCI. For the welfare of tribals, a Van Bandhu Kalyan Yojana is being launched with an initial allocation of Rs 100 crore.
Programmes to improve women's safety
Rs 50 crore will be spent by the ministry of road transport and highways on pilot-testing a scheme, the Safety for Women in Public Road Transport. A sum of Rs 150 crore will also be spent by the ministry of home affairs on a scheme to enhance safety for women in large cities. It has also been proposed to set up crisis management centres in all the districts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi this year, at all government and private hospitals.
Slum development in CSR
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has proposed adding slum development to the list of corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, to encourage the private sector to contribute towards making cities free of slums.
Empowering differently-abled persons
The scheme of assistance to disabled persons for purchase/fitting of aids and appliances (ADIP) is being extended to include contemporary aids and assistive devices. It is also proposed to establish national-level institutes for universal inclusive design and mental health rehabilitation and also a centre for disability sports.
New scheme for the girl child
The government will launch the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana with a corpus of Rs 100 crore. This will be a focused scheme that will help in generating awareness and also help in improving the efficiency of delivery of welfare services meant for women.
A fillip to rural roads, MGNREGS tweaked
The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, which was initiated during NDA-I under the stewardship of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, will be given a fillip with an allocation of Rs 14,389 crore. The MGNREGS, meant to provide wage employment, will be tweaked to create more productive assets which are linked to agriculture and allied activities.
Rural housing push
Allocation to the National Housing Bank for 2014-15 is being increased to Rs 8,000 crore to provide expanded support for rural housing, especially as a large percentage of the rural population have availed of credit through the Rural Housing Fund.
Crafts to be encouraged
A Trade Facilitation Centre and a Crafts Museum with an outlay of Rs 50 crore will be set up to develop and promote handloom products of Varanasi.