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Arun Jaitley's Union budget 2018 speech: Read full text here

Finance Minister Arun Jailtey laid the plan for the coming year. He said that there would be no changes in income-tax brackets

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Budget 2018 LIVE
Budget 2018 LIVE: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tabled the Union for the year on the floor of the House on Thursday. In his speech, he said he did not change the personal income-tax slabs. The long-term capital gains would be taxed at 10 per cent for investment over Rs 100,000. Here is a snapshot of the full speech of the finance minister.

Section I

1.  I rise to present the for 2018-19.

2.  Madam, four years ago, we pledged to  the  people  of  India  to give this nation an honest, clean and transparent Government. We promised a leadership capable of taking difficult decisions and restoring strong performance of  Indian    We promised to  reduce poverty, expedite infrastructure creation and  build  a  strong,  confident and a New India.  When our  Government  took  over,  India  was considered a part of fragile  5;  a  nation  suffering  from  policy  paralysis and  corruption.  We  have  decisively  reversed  this.  The  Government,  led by Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has successfully implemented  a series of fundamental structural reforms. With the result, India stands out among the fastest growing economies of the world.
3. The journey of economic reforms during the past few years has been challenging but rewarding. As a result of the reforms undertaken  by the Government, foreign direct investment has gone up. Measures taken by the Government have made it much easier to do  business in India. Natural resources are now allocated in a transparent and honest manner. There is a premium on honesty. There was a time when corruption  was  common- place. Today, our people, especially our youths, are curious to lead their lives honestly. The indirect tax system, with introduction of Goods and Services Tax, has been made simpler. Benefits to the poor have been targeted more effectively with use of digital  technology.  The demonetization of high value currency has reduced the quantum of cash currency and circulation in India. It has increased the taxation base and spurred   greater   digitization   of   the          The   Insolvency   and

 Bankruptcy Code (IBC) has changed the lender-debtor relationship. The recapitalized banks will now have a greater ability to support growth. All these structural reforms in the medium and long run will help Indian achieve stronger growth for a long time.
4. Indian has performed very well since  our  Government took over in May,  2014.  India  achieved  an  average  growth  of  7.5%  in first three years of our Government. Indian is now 2.5 trillion dollar – seventh largest in the world. India is  expected  to become the fifth largest very  soon.  On  Purchasing  Power Parity (PPP) basis, we are already the third largest
5. Indian society,  polity  and   had  shown  remarkable resilience in  adjusting  with  the  structural  reforms.  GDP  growth  at  6.3% in the second quarter signaled turnaround of the We hope to grow at 7.2% to 7.5% in the second half. IMF, in its latest  Update,  has forecast that India will grow at 7.4% next year. Manufacturing sector is back on good  growth path.  The  services, mainstay  of  our  growth, have also resumed their high growth  rates  of  8%  plus.  Our  exports  are expected to grow at 15% in 2017-18. We are now firmly on course  to achieve high growth of 8% plus.
6. We have taken up programmes to direct  the  benefits  of structural changes and good growth to reach farmers, poor and other vulnerable sections  of  our society  and to  uplift the under-developed regions. This year’s will consolidate  these  gains  and  particularly focus on strengthening agriculture and  rural economy, provision  of good health care to economically less privileged, taking care of senior citizens, infrastructure creation and  working with the States to  provide more resources for improving the quality of education in the country.
7.  Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has  always  stressed importance of good governance. He has articulated the vision  of ‘‘Minimum Government and Maximum Governance’’. This vision has inspired Government agencies in carrying out hundreds of reforms in policies, rules and procedures. This transformation is reflected in improvement of India’s ranking by 42 places in last three  years  in  the World Bank’s ‘Ease of  Doing  Business’  with  India  breaking  into  top  100 for the first time. I  would like to congratulate all those who worked to achieve  this.
8.  Now, our Government has taken Ease of Doing business further by stress on 'Ease of Leaving' for the common men of this country, especially for those belonging to poor & middle class of the society. Good governance also aims at minimum interference by the government in the life of common people of the country.
9. Government is providing free LPG connections to the poor of this country through Ujjwala Yojana. Under Saubhagya Yojna 4 crore household are being provided with electricity connections. More than 800 medicines are being sold at lower price through more than 3 thousand Jan Aushadhi Centres. Cost of stents have been controlled. Special scheme for free dialysis of poor have been initiated. Persons belonging to poor and middle class are also being provided a great relief in interest rates on housing schemes. Efforts are being made to provide all government services, whether bus or train tickets or individual certificates on line. These include passports which may be delivered at doorstep in two or three days or Company registration in one day time and these facilities have benefited a large section of our country. Certificate attestation is not mandatory, interviews for appointment in Group C and Group D posts have been done away with. These measures have saved  time and money of lakhs of our youth. Our Government by using modern technology is committed to provide a relief to those who suffer because of rigid rules and regulations.
10. Madam, while undertaking these reforms and programmes,  we have worked sincerely and without weighing the political costs. Our Government has ensured that  benefits  reach  eligible  beneficiaries  and are delivered to them directly. Many services and benefits are being delivered to the people at their doorsteps or in their accounts. It has reduced corruption  and  cost  of  delivery  and  has  eliminated  middlemen in the process. Direct Benefit Transfer mechanism of India is the biggest such exercise in the world and is a global success story.
Section II
Investment, Expenditure and Policy Initiatives
     Agriculture and Rural Economy
11.  My Government is committed for the welfare of farmers. For decades, country’s agriculture policy and programme had remained production centric.  We  have  sought  to  effect  a  paradigm  shift. Honourable Prime Minister gave a clarion call to double farmers’ income by   2022   when   India   celebrates   its   75th    year   of   independence.   Our
emphasis is on generating higher incomes for farmers. We consider agriculture as an enterprise and want to  help  farmers  produce  more from the same land parcel at lesser cost and  simultaneously  realize higher   prices   for   their   produce.   Our   emphasis   is   also   on   generating productive and gainful on-farm and  non-farm  employment  for  the farmers and landless families.
12. Madam Speaker, as a result of the hard work of our country's farmers agriculture production in our country is at a record level. Doing the year 2016-17 we achieved a record food grain production of around 275 million tonnes and around 300 million tonnes of fruits and vegetables.
13. Madam Speaker, in our party's manifesto it has been stated that the farmers should realize at least 50 per cent more than the cost of their produce, in other words, one and a half times of the cost of their production. Government have been very much sensitive to this resolutions and it has declared Minimum support price (MSP) for the majority of rabi crops at least at one and a half times the cost involved. Now,  we have decided to implement this resolution as a principle for the rest of crops. I am pleased to announce that as per pre-determined principle, Government has decided to keep MSP for the all unannounced crops of kharif at least at one and half times of their production cost. I am confident that this historic decision will prove an important step towards doubling the income of our farmers.
14. Our Government works with the holistic approach of  solving  any issue rather than in fragments. Increasing MSP is not adequate  and it  is more important that farmers should get full benefit of the announced MSP. For this, it is essential that if price of the agriculture produce market is less than MSP, then in that case Government should purchase either at MSP or work in a manner to provide MSP for the farmers through some other mechanism. Niti Ayog, in consultation with Central and State Governments, will put in place a fool-proof mechanism so that farmers will get adequate price for their produce.
15. For  better  price  realization,  farmers  need  to  make  decisions based on prices likely to be available after its harvest.  Government  will create an institutional mechanism, with participation of all concerned Ministries, to develop appropriate policies and practices for price and demand forecast, use of futures and options market, expansion  of warehouse depository system and  to  take  decisions  about  specific exports and imports related measures.
16. Madam Speaker, last year, I had  announced  strengthening  of e-NAM and to expand coverage of e-NAM  to  585  APMCs.  470  APMCs have been connected to e-NAM network and rest will be connected  by March, 2018.

17. More than 86% of our  farmers  are  small  and  marginal.  They  are not always in a position to  directly  transact  at  APMCs  and  other wholesale markets. We 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.
18. An Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund with  a  corpus  of  '2000  crore will be set up for developing and upgrading agricultural marketing infrastructure in the 22000 Grameen  Agricultural  Markets  (GrAMs)  and 585  APMCs.
19. Task  of  connecting  all  eligible  habitations  with   an   all-weather road has been substantially completed, with the target date brought forward to March,  2019 from March 2022.  It  is  now  time  to  strengthen and widen its ambit further to include major link routes which connect habitations to agricultural and rural markets (GrAMs), higher secondary schools and hospitals. Prime Minister Gram Sadak Yojana Phase III will include such linkages.
20. For several years, we have been stating that India is primarily an agriculture based country. As India is primarily an agriculture based country, our districts can specialize in some or other agricultural  produce and be known for it. But special attention is lacking in this regard. There is a need to develop cluster based model in a scientific manner for identified agriculture produces in our districts in the same manner as we have developed model for industrial sector.
21. Cultivation of horticulture crops in clusters bring advantages of scales of operations and can spur establishment of entire chain from production to marketing, besides giving recognition to the districts for specific crops. The Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare will reorient its ongoing Schemes and promote cluster based development of agri- commodities and regions in partnership with the Ministries  of Food Processing, Commerce and other allied Ministries.
22. Our Government has promoted organic farming in a big way. Organic farming by Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and Village Producers’ Organizations (VPOs) in large clusters,  preferably  of  1000 hectares each, will be encouraged. Women Self Help Groups (SHGs) will also be encouraged to take up organic agriculture in clusters under National  Rural  Livelihood  Programme.
23. Our ecology supports cultivation of  highly  specialized  medicinal and aromatic plants. India is also home to a large number of  small  and cottage industries that manufacture perfumes, essential oils and other associated products. Our Government shall  support  organized  cultivation and associated industry. I propose  to  allocate  a  sum  of  '200  crore  for this  purpose.
24. Food Processing sector is growing at an average rate of 8% per annum.  Prime  Minister  Krishi  Sampada  Yojana  is  our   flagship programme for boosting investment in food processing. Allocation  of Ministry  of  Food   Processing   is   being   doubled   from   '715   crore   in RE 2017-18 to '1400 crore in BE 2018-19. Government will promote establishment of specialized agro-processing financial institutions in this sector.
25. Tomato, onion and potato are  basic  vegetables  consumed throughout the year. However, seasonal  and  regional  production  of these perishable commodities pose a  challenge  in  connecting  farmers and consumers in a manner that  satisfies  both.  My  Government proposes to launch an ‘‘Operation Greens’’ on the lines of ‘‘Operation Flood’’. ‘‘Operation  Greens’’  shall  promote  Farmer   Producers Organizations (FPOs), agri-logistics, processing facilities and professional management. I propose to allocate a sum of '500 crore for this purpose.
26. India’s agri-exports potential is as high as US $ 100 billion against current exports of US $ 30 billion. To realize this potential, export of agri-commodities will be liberalized. I also propose to set up state-of- the-art testing facilities in all the forty two Mega Food Parks.
27. I propose to extend the facility of Kisan Credit Cards to fisheries and animal husbandry farmers to help them meet their working capital needs. Small and marginal farmers will get more benefits.
28. Bamboo is ‘Green Gold’. We removed bamboo  grown  outside forest areas from the definition of trees. Now, I propose to launch a Re-structured National Bamboo Mission with an outlay of '1290 crore to promote bamboo sector in a holistic manner.
29. Many farmers are installing solar water pumps to irrigate  their fields. Generation of solar electricity is harvesting of Sun by the farmers using their lands. Government of India will take  necessary measures and encourage State Governments to put in place a mechanism that their surplus solar power is purchased by  the  distribution  companies  or licencees at reasonably  remunerative rates.

30. Our Government set up a Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF) in NABARD for meeting funding  requirement  of  irrigation  works.  Scope  of the Fund would be expanded to cover specified command area development  projects.
31. Last year, I had announced setting up of  Micro  Irrigation  Fund (MIF) for facilitating expansion of coverage under micro  irrigation  and Dairy Processing Infrastructure Development Fund  (DPIDF)  to  help finance investment in dairying infrastructure. It is  now  time  to  expand such focused investment Funds. I,  now,  announce  setting  up  a  Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FAIDF) for fisheries sector and an Animal Husbandry  Infrastructure  Development  Fund (AHIDF) for financing infrastructure  requirement  of  animal  husbandry sector. Total Corpus of these two new Funds would be '10,000 crore.
32. Our Government has been steadily increasing the volume of institutional credit for agriculture sector from year-to-year from '8.5 lakh crore in 2014-15  to  '10  lakh  crore  in  2017-18.  I  now  propose  to  raise this to '11 lakh crore for the year 2018-19.
33. Presently, lessee cultivators are not able to avail crop loans. Consequently, a significant proportion of arable land remains fallow and tenant cultivators are forced  to  secure  credit  from  usurious  money lenders.  NITI  Aayog,  in  consultation  with  State  Governments,  will  evolve a suitable mechanism to enable access of lessee cultivators to credit without compromising the rights of the land owners.
34.  Government will extend a favourable  taxation  treatment  to Farmer  Producers  Organisations  (FPOs)  for  helping  farmers   aggregate their   needs   of   inputs,   farm   services,   processing   and   sale   operations. I shall give details in Part B of my speech.
35.  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 in- situ management of crop residue.
36. Madam Speaker, the present top leadership of this country has reached at this level after seeing poverty at close quarters. Our leadership is familiar with the problems being faced by the SC, ST, Backward Classes and economically weaker sections of the society. People belonging to poor and middle class are not case studies for them, on the other hand they themselves are case study.

37. The Lower and Middle Class have been the focus of our Government during the last three years. This Government is continuously striving to alleviate all the small and major problems of the poor.
38. We launched Prime Minister’s Ujjwala Scheme to make poor women free from the smoke of wood. Initially our target was to provide free LPG connections to about 5 crore poor women. But in view of the pace of implementation of Ujjwala scheme and its popularity among the women, we propose to increase the target of providing free connection to 8 crore poor women.
39. Our Government has launched Prime Minister Saubhagya Yojana for providing electricity to all households of the country. Under this scheme, four crores poor households are being provided with electricity connection free of charge. We are spending '16000 crore under this scheme. You can very well imagine our anxiety and restlessness even with one hour power cut. Think about those women and children whose houses will not get electricity. Their life is going to change because  of  Pradhan  Mantri Saubhagya Yojana.
40. Swachh Bharat Mission has benefited the poor. Under this mission, Government has already constructed more than 6 crore toilets. The positive effect of these toilets is being seen on the dignity of ladies, education of girls and the overall health of family. Government is planning to construct around 2 crore toilets.
41. Madam Speaker, a roof for his family is another concern of the poor. Far from the Benami properties earned by corruption, the poor only desire to have a roof, a small house by his earning of honesty. Our Govt. is helping them so that they may fulfil the dream of their own house. We have fixed a target that every poor of this country may have his own house by 2022. For this purpose Prime Minister Awas Yojana has been launched in rural and urban areas of the country. Under Prime Minister Awas Scheme Rural, 51 lakhs houses in year 2017-18 and 51 lakh houses during 2018-19 which is more than one crore houses will be constructed exclusively in rural areas. In urban areas the assistance has been sanctioned to construct 37 lakh houses.
42. My  Government  will  also  establish  a   dedicated   Affordable Housing  Fund  (AHF)  in  National  Housing  Bank,  funded  from  priority sector lending shortfall and fully serviced bonds authorized by the Government of India.
43. Loans to Self Help Groups of women increased to about Rupees 42,500    crore    in    2016-17,    growing    37%    over    previous    year. The Government is confident that loans to SHGs will  increase  to  '75,000 crore by March, 2019. I propose to substantially increase allocation of National Rural Livelihood Mission to '5750 crore in 2018-19.
44. Ground water irrigation scheme  under  Prime  Minister  Krishi Sinchai Yojna- Har Khet ko Pani will be taken up in 96 deprived irrigation districts where less than 30% of the land holdings gets assured irrigation presently. I have allocated '2600 crore for this purpose.
45. As my proposals outlined indicate, focus  of  the  Government  next year will be on providing maximum livelihood opportunities  in  the  rural areas by spending more on  livelihood,  agriculture  and  allied  activities and construction of rural infrastructure. In the year 2018-19, for creation of livelihood and  infrastructure  in  rural  areas,  total  amount  to  be  spent by the Ministries will be '14.34 lakh crore, including extra-budgetary and non-budgetary resources of  '11.98  lakh  crore.  Apart  from  employment due  to  farming  activities  and  self  employment,  this  expenditure  will create employment of 321 crore person days,  3.17  lakh  kilometers  of rural  roads,  51  lakh  new  rural  houses,  1.88  crore  toilets,  and  provide
1.75 crore new household electric  connections  besides  boosting agricultural growth. Details are in Annexure I.

Health, Education and Social Protection

46.  My Government’s goal is to assist and provide opportunity  to every Indian to realize her full  potential  capable  of achieving  her economic and social dreams. Our Government is implementing a comprehensive social security and protection programme to reach every household of old, widows, orphaned  children,  divyaang  and  deprived  as per the Socio-Economic Caste Census. Allocation on National Social Assistance Programme this year has been kept at '9975 crore.
47.   We have managed to get children to School but the quality of education is still a cause of serious concern. We have now defined learning outcomes and National Survey  of  more  than  20  lakh  children has  been  conducted  to  assess  the  status  on  the  ground.   This  will  help in devising a district-wise strategy for improving quality of education. We now propose to treat education holistically without segmentation from pre-nursery to Class 12.
48.  Improvement in quality of teachers can improve the quality of education in the country. We will initiate an integrated B.Ed. programme for teachers. Training of teachers during service is extremely critical. We have amended the Right to Education Act to enable more than 13 lakh untrained teachers to get trained.
49.  Technology will be the biggest driver in improving the quality of education. We propose 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’’.
50.  The Government is committed to provide the best quality education to the tribal children in their own environment. To realise this mission, it has been decided that by the  year  2022,  every  block  with more than 50% ST population and at  least  20,000  tribal  persons,  will have an Ekalavya Model  Residential  School.  Ekalavya  schools  will  be  on par with Navodaya Vidyalayas and will have special  facilities  for preserving local art and culture  besides  providing  training  in  sports  and skill  development.
51. To step up investments in research and related infrastructure in premier educational  institutions,  including  health  institutions,  I  propose to launch a major initiative  named  ‘‘Revitalising  Infrastructure  and Systems   in   Education   (RISE)   by   2022’’   with   a   total   investment   of 1,00,000 crore in next four years. Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) would be suitably structured for funding this initiative.
52.  Our 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.  We  have  received  more than 100 applications. We have also taken steps to set up a specialized Railways University  at Vadodara.
53. We propose to set up  two  new  full-fledged  Schools  of  Planning and Architecture, to be selected on  challenge  mode.  Additionally,  18 new SPAs would be established in the IITs and NITs as autonomous Schools, also on challenge mode.
54. The Government would launch the ‘‘Prime Minister’s Research Fellows (PMRF)’’ Scheme this year. Under  this,  we  would  identify  1,000 best B.Tech students each year from premier institutions  and  provide them facilities to do Ph.D in IITs and IISc, with a handsome fellowship. It is expected that these bright  young  fellows  would  voluntarily  commit few hours every week for teaching in higher educational institutions.

55. Now I come to the Health Sector is the guiding principle of my Government. Only Swasth Bharat can be a Samriddha Bharat. India cannot realize its demographic dividend without its citizens being healthy.
56.  I am pleased to announce two major initiatives as part  of ‘‘Ayushman Bharat’’ programme aimed at making path breaking interventions to address health holistically, in primary, secondary and tertiary care system covering both prevention and health promotion.
57. 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. These centres will provide comprehensive  health care,  including  for non- communicable diseases and maternal and child health services. These centres  will  also  provide  free  essential  drugs  and  diagnostic  services. I  am  committing '1200 crore  in this for  this flagship  programme. I also invite contribution of private sector through CSR and philanthropic institutions in adopting these centres.
58. Madam Speaker, we are all aware that lakhs of families in our country have to borrow or sell assets to receive indoor treatment in hospitals. Government is seriously concerned about such impoverishment of poor and vulnerable families. Present Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) provide annual coverage of only '30,000 to poor families. Several State Governments  have  also  implemented/supplemented  health protection schemes providing  varying  coverage.  My  Government  has now decided to take health protection to more aspirational level.
59. We will launch a flagship National Health Protection  Scheme  to cover  over  10  crore  poor  and  vulnerable  families   (approximately   50 crore beneficiaries) providing coverage upto 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization. This will  be  the world’s largest government funded health care programme. Adequate funds will be provided for smooth implementation of this programme.
60. Madam Speaker, these two far-reaching initiatives under the Ayushman Bharat will build a New India 2022 and ensure enhanced productivity, well being and avert wage loss and impoverishment. These Schemes will also generate lakhs of jobs, particularly for women. The Government is steadily but surely progressing towards the goal of Universal Health Coverage.
61. TB claims more lives every year than any other infectious disease. It affects mainly poor and malnourished people. My Government has, therefore, decided  to  allocate  additional  '600  crore  to  provide nutritional support to all TB  patients  at  the  rate  of  '500  per  month  for the duration of their treatment.
62. In order to further enhance accessibility of quality medical education and health care, we will be setting up 24 new Government Medical Colleges and Hospitals  by  upgrading  existing  district  hospitals  in the country. This would  ensure  that  there  is  at  least  1  Medical  College for every  3  Parliamentary Constituencies and at least  1  Government Medical College in each State of the country.
63. Our resolve  of  making  our  villages  open  defecation free  is  aimed at improving the life of our villagers. We will launch a Scheme called Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan (GOBAR-DHAN) for management and conversion of cattle dung and solid waste in farms to compost, fertilizer, bio-gas and bio-CNG.
64. Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti  Beema  Yojana  (PMJJBY)  has benefitted 5.22 crore families with a life insurance cover of '2 lakh on payment of a premium  of  only  '330/-  per  annum.  Likewise,  under Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana, 13 crore 25  lakh  persons  have been insured with personal accident cover of '2 lakh on payment of a premium of only '12 per annum. The Government will work to cover all poor households, including SC/ST households, under these in a mission mode.
65. The Government will expand the  coverage  under  Prime  Minister Jan Dhan Yojana by  bringing all sixty  crore  basic accounts within its fold and undertake measures  to provide services  of micro  insurance and unorganized sector pension schemes through these accounts.
66. Our commitment towards ‘‘Beti Bachao Beti  Padhao’’  is unflinching.  Sukanya  Samriddhi  Account  Scheme  launched  in   January 2015 has been a great success. Until November,  2017  more  than  1.26 crore accounts have been opened across the country in the name of girl- child securing an amount of '19,183 crore.
67. Cleaning the Ganga is work of  national  importance  and  it  is  our firm commitment. Members will be happy to learn that this work has gathered speed. A total of 187 projects have been sanctioned under the Namami Gange programme for infrastructure development, river surface cleaning,    rural    sanitation    and    other    interventions at a cost of 16,713 crore. 47 projects have been completed and remaining projects are at various stages of execution.  All 4465 Ganga Grams – villages on the bank of river - have been declared open defecation free.
68. To give focused attention  and  to  achieve  our  vision  of  an inclusive society, the Government has identified 115 aspirational districts taking various indices of development in consideration. The Government aims at improving the quality of life in these  districts  by  investing  in social services like health, education, nutrition, skill upgradation, financial inclusion and infrastructure like irrigation, rural electrification, potable drinking water and access to toilets at an accelerated pace and in a time bound manner. We expect these 115 districts to become model of development.
69. Economic and social advancement of hard working people of Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) has received core attention of Government. Our Government increased total earmarked allocation  for  SCs  in  279  programmes  from  '34,334  crore  in  2016-17  to 52,719 crore in  RE  2017-18.  Likewise,  for  STs,  earmarked  allocation was  increased  from   '21,811   crore   in   2016-17   to   '32,508   crore   in RE  2017-18  in  305  programmes.  I  propose  an  earmarked  allocation  of
'56,619 crore for SCs and '39,135 crore for STs in BE 2018-19.
70. Government’s estimated schematic budgetary expenditure on health, education and social protection for 2018-19 is '1.38 lakh crore against estimated expenditure of '1.22 lakh  crore  in  BE  2017-18.  Details are in Annexure II. This expenditure is likely to go up by at least '15,000 crore in 2018-19 on account of additional allocation during the year and extra budgetary expenditure, including  through  Higher  Education Financing  Agency.

Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) and Employment

71.        Medium, Small and  Micro  Enterprises  (MSMEs)  are  a  major engine  of  growth  and  employment  in  the  country.     I  have  provided 3794 crore to  MSME  Sector  for  giving  credit  support,  capital  and interest subsidy and innovations. Massive  formalization of  the businesses of MSMEs is taking place in the country after demonetization and introduction of GST. This is generating enormous financial information database of MSMEs’ businesses and finances. This big data base will  be used for improving financing of MSMEs’ capital requirement, including working  capital.

72.             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.  Government  will soon announce measures  for  effectively   addressing   non-performing assets and stressed  accounts  of  MSMEs.  This  will  enable larger  financing of MSMEs and also considerably ease cash flow challenges  faced  by them. In order to reduce tax burden on MSMEs and to create larger number of jobs, I will be announcing some tax measures in Part B of my speech.
73.             MUDRA  Yojana  launched  in  April,  2015  has  led  to  sanction  of
'4.6 lakh crore in credit from 10.38 crore MUDRA loans. 76% of loan accounts are of women and more than 50% belong  to  SCs,  STs  and OBCs. It is proposed to set a target of '3 lakh crore for  lending  under MUDRA for 2018-19 after having successfully exceeded the targets in all previous  years.
74.             Non-Bank Finance Companies (NBFCs) stepped up financing of MSMEs after demonetization. NBFCs can be very powerful vehicle for delivering  loans  under  MUDRA.  Refinancing  policy  and  eligibility  criteria set by MUDRA will be reviewed for better refinancing of NBFCs.
75.             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.
76.             Venture Capital Funds and the angel investors need an innovative and special developmental and regulatory  regime  for  their  growth.  We have taken a number of policy measures including launching  ‘‘Start-Up India’’ program, building very  robust  alternative  investment  regime  in the country and rolling out a taxation regime designed for the  special nature of the VCFs and the angel investors. We will take additional measures to strengthen the environment for their growth and successful operation of alternative investment funds in India.
77.             Creating job opportunities and  facilitating  generation  of employment has been at the core of our  policy-making.  During  the  last three years, we have taken a number of steps to boost employment generation in the country. These measures include:-
·   Contribution  of  8.33%  of  Employee  Provident  Fund  (EPF) for new employees by the Government for three years.

·   Contribution of 12% to EPF for new employees for  three years by the Government in sectors  employing  large number of people like textile, leather and footwear.
·  Additional deduction  to  the  employees  of  30%  of  the wages paid for new employees under the Income Tax Act.
·    Launch of National Apprenticeship Scheme with stipend support and sharing of the cost of basic training by the Government to give training to 50 lakh youth by 2020.
·   Introducing system of fixed term employment  for  apparel and footwear sector.
·   Increasing paid maternity leave  from  12  weeks  to  26 weeks, along with provision of crèches.
78.             These measures have started showing results. An independent study conducted recently has shown that 70 lakh formal jobs will be created this year.
79.             To carry forward this momentum,  I  am  happy  to  announce  that the Government will contribute 12% of the wages of the new employees in the EPF for all  the  sectors  for  next  three  years.  Also,  the  facility  of fixed term employment will be extended to all sectors.
80.             To incentivize employment of more  women  in  the  formal  sector and to  enable  higher  take-home wages, I  propose  to  make  amendments in the Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 to reduce women employees'  contribution to 8% for  first  three  years  of their employment against existing rate of 12% or 10% with no change in employers'  contribution.
81.             The Government is setting up a model aspirational skill  centre  in every district of the country under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra Programme. 306  Pradhan  Mantri  Kaushal  Kendra  have  been established for imparting skill training through such centers.
82.             The Government had approved a comprehensive textile sector package of '6000 crore in 2016 to boost the apparel and made-up segments. I, now propose to provide an outlay of '7148  crore  for  the textile sector in 2018-19.

 Infrastructure and Financial Sector Development
83.             Infrastructure  is  the  growth  driver  of    Our  country needs massive  investments  estimated  to  be  in  excess  of  '50  lakh  crore in infrastructure to increase growth of GDP, connect and integrate  the nation with a network of roads, airports, railways, ports and inland waterways and to provide good quality services to our people.
84.             We have made  an  all-time  high  allocation  to  rail  and  road sectors. We are committed to further enhance  public  investment. Provision of key linkages like coal for power, power for railways  and railway rakes for coal have been rationalized and made  very  efficient. Prime Minister personally reviews the targets and achievements in infrastructure sectors on a regular basis.  Using online monitoring system of PRAGATI alone, projects worth  9.46  lakh  crore  have  been  facilitated and fast tracked.
85.             To secure India’s defences, we are developing connectivity infrastructure in border areas. 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. I now propose  to  take up construction of tunnel  under Sela Pass. For promoting tourism  and  emergency  medical  care, Government will  make  necessary  framework  for  encouraging  investment in sea plane activities.
86.             Urbanization is our opportunity and priority. My Government has rolled out two interlinked programmes – Smart Cities Mission and the AMRUT.
87.             Smart Cities  Mission aims at building 100 Smart Cities  with state- of-the-art amenities. I am happy to inform that 99 Cities have been selected with an outlay of '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. Projects worth '2350 crore have been completed and  works  of  '20,852 crore are under progress.  To  preserve and revitalize soul of the heritage cities in India, National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) has been taken up in a major way.
88.             India is blessed with an abundance of tourist attractions. It is proposed to  develop ten prominent  tourist sites into Iconic Tourism destinations by following a holistic  approach  involving  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.
89.             The AMRUT programme focuses on providing water supply to all households in 500 cities. State level plans of '77,640 crore for 500 cities have   been  approved.   Water   supply   contracts  for  494   projects  worth
'19,428   crore   and   sewerage   work   contract   for   272   projects   costing 12,429 crore has been awarded.
90.             Reforms are being catalyzed by these missions. 482 cities have started credit rating.   144 cities have got investment grade rating.
91.             My Ministry will leverage the India  Infrastructure  Finance Corporation Limited (IIFCL) to help finance major infrastructure projects, including  investments  in  educational  and  health  infrastructure,   on strategic and larger societal benefit considerations.
92.             Our Government has  scaled  new  heights in development of Road Infrastructure sector. We are confident to complete National Highways exceeding 9000 kilometers length during 2017-18. Ambitious Bharatmala Pariyojana 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  '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 and  use innovative monetizing structures like Toll,  Operate  and  Transfer  (TOT) and Infrastructure  Investment Funds (InvITs).
93.             Strengthening  the  railway  network  and  enhancing  Railways’ carrying capacity has been a major focus of the  Government.  Railways’ Capex for the year 2018-19 has been pegged at '1,48,528 crore. A large part of the Capex  is devoted to capacity creation. 18,000 kilometers of doubling, third  and fourth line works and 5000 kilometers of gauge conversion would eliminate capacity constraints and transform almost entire network into Broad Gauge.
94.             There has  also  been  significant  improvement  in  the  achievement of physical targets by Railways as well. We are moving fast towards optimal  electrification  of  railway  network.  4000  kilometers  are  targeted for commissioning during 2017-18.
95.             Work on Eastern and  Western  dedicated  Freight  Corridors  is  in full  swing.     Adequate  number  of  rolling  stock  –  12000  wagons,  5160 coaches and approximately 700 locomotives are being procured during 2018-19. A major programme has been initiated to  strengthen infrastructure at  the  Goods  sheds  and  fast  track  commissioning  of private  sidings.
96.             A ‘Safety First’ policy, with allocation of adequate funds under Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh 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’’. A decision has been taken to eliminate 4267  unmanned level crossings in  the  broad  gauge  network  in the next two years.
97.             Redevelopment of 600  major  railway  stations  is  being  taken  up by Indian Railway Station Development  Co.  Ltd.  All  stations  with  more than 25000 footfalls  will  have  escalators.  All  railway  stations  and  trains will be progressively provided with wi-fi. CCTVs will be provided at  all stations and on trains to enhance  security  of  passengers.  Modern  train- sets with state-of-the-art amenities and features are being designed at Integrated Coach Factory, Perambur. First such train-set will  be commissioned  during  2018-19.
98.             Mumbai’s transport system, the lifeline of the  City,  is  being expanded  and  augmented  to  add  90  kilometers  of  double  line  tracks  at a cost of over '11,000 crore. 150 kilometers of additional suburban network is being planned at a cost of over '40,000 crore, including elevated corridors on some sections. A suburban network  of approximately 160 kilometers at an estimated cost of '17,000  crore  is being planned to cater to the growth of the Bengaluru metropolis.
99.             Foundation for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad  bullet  train  project, India’s first high speed rail project was laid on September 14, 2017. An Institute is coming up at Vadodara to train manpower required  for  high speed rail projects.
100.         In the last three years, the domestic air passenger traffic grew at 18% per annum and our  airline  companies  placed  orders  for  more  than 900 aircrafts. Regional connectivity scheme of UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik)  initiated  by  the  Government  last  year  shall  connect  56  unserved
airports and 31 unserved helipads across the country.  Operations  have already started at 16 such airports. Airport Authority of India (AAI) has  124  airports.  We  propose  to  expand  our  airport  capacity  more  than five times to  handle a billion trips  a year under a new initiative - NABH Nirman. Balance sheet of AAI shall be leveraged to raise more resources for funding this expansion.
101.         Our efforts to set up a  Coalition  on  Disaster  Resilient Infrastructure for developing international good practices, appropriate standards and regulatory mechanism  for  resilient  infrastructure development are moving well. I  propose  to  allocate  '60  crores  to  kick start this initiative in 2018-19.
102.         The Government and market regulators have taken necessary measures for development of monetizing vehicles like Infrastructure Investment Trust (InvIT) and Real Investment Trust (ReITs) in India. The Government would initiate monetizing select CPSE assets  using  InvITs from next year.
103.         In the current year,  we  included,  in  the  scope  of  harmonized  list of infrastructure, ropeways to promote tourism, logistics parks  and expanded the scope of railways infrastructure to include development of commercial land around railway stations.
104.         Reserve Bank of India has issued guidelines to nudge Corporates access bond market. SEBI will also consider  mandating,  beginning  with large Corporates, to meet  about  one-fourth   of  their  financing  needs from the bond market.
105.         Corporate bonds  rated  ‘BBB’  or  equivalent  are  investment  grade. In India, most regulators permit bonds with the ‘AA’ rating only  as eligible for investment. It is now time to move from  ‘AA’  to  ‘A’  grade ratings. The government and concerned regulators will take necessary action.
106.         We will take 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.
107.         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.
108.         Global is transforming into a digital thanks to development  of  cutting  edge  technologies  in  digital  space  –  machine learning, artificial intelligence, internet of things,  3D  printing  and  the like. 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 our efforts in the area of artificial intelligence, including research and development of  its applications.
109.         Combining cyber and physical systems have great potential to transform not only innovation  ecosystem  but  also  our  economies  and the way we live. 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. I have doubled the allocation on Digital India programme to ' 3073 crore in 2018-19.

To read and download the full text of the Speech, Click here.

First Published: Thu, February 01 2018. 15:25 IST