Bharat, or Rural India, has been the key focus of Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley’s Union Budget for 2018-19. It presses all the right buttons and ticks all the right boxes when it comes to fueling the Rural and Agrarian Economy with a slew of measures including higher MSPs for Kharif crops, upfront agriculture focus, institutional support for price discovery and upgradation of rural haats to give farmers better access to formal mandis. These measures, coupled with the mega Health Insurance programme for the poor and massive spending on rural infrastructure, will go a long way in strengthening the rural Economy and boosting consumerism in the hinterland.
Overall, the Union Budget 2017-18 is on expected lines and is focused on improving the quality of life in Rural India. He has re-iterated the Government’s promise of doubling farmer's income by 2022 with various additional allocations and funds in this sector.
The Budgetary allocation for cultivation of specialized medicinal and aromatic plants is another big positive and will help promote India’s Ayurvedic heritage.
While there may not be any big-ticket Income Tax relief for the middle class, the increased standard deduction against travel and medical expenses will add to the disposable income in the pockets of the common man.
The revision in fiscal deficit target for 2018-19 to 3.3% of GDP as against the earlier target of 3% is an area of concern.
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