NITI Aayog, Agri ministry, states to work on boosting MSP: Arun Jaitley

Finance minister Arun Jaitley’s Union Budget 2018 has made attempts to address the problem the MSME sector has been facing for quite a long time

NITI Aayog, Agri ministry, states to work on boosting MSP: Arun Jaitley

He said, no other country has five percent tax slab and can't get slabs lower than the current ones.

Advani also highlighted the budget's provisions for farmers, small and medium sector enterprises, education and infrastructure.

Farmers were the big winners in Thursday's budget announcement. For example, the budget has proposed that minimum support price (MSP) announced by governments for all crops should at least be 1.5 times the cost of production. Only 20% of women aged 15-49 and 23% of men aged 15-49 are covered by a health insurance or health scheme.

"Operation Greens", on the lines of "Operation Flood", shall promote Farmer Producers Organizations (FPOs), agri-logistics, processing facilities and professional management in the sector.

Although the key focus of this year's Union Budget has been agriculture with the announcement of a number of schemes and measures that are expected to benefit the sector, it has not been appreciated by many. Meanwhile, throwing some more light on the national health scheme, Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said a lot of specificities will be brought into the scheme by the first quarter of the next fiscal. With the history of government health insurance schemes not so impressive, the Modi government now has a major challenge before it to implement the scheme effectively. Those centers would also provide free essential drugs and diagnostic services. "It takes care of hospitalisation, the secondary and tertiary care". "Is the Finance Minister serious?" he asked. A recent World Bank report further claimed that over 30% of India's population aged between 15 and 29 years are not in education, employment or training (NEETs).

The Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Committee of IAMAI points out that what Jaitley said in no way condemns cryptocurrencies to illegality, just that - as he said earlier in the year - "bitcoins or such cryptocurrencies are not legal tender". This has now been subsumed into the new Standard Deduction of Rs 40,000 which may mean very little benefit in tax saving considering that health and education cess has gone up.

Jaitley, however, made import of a host of products - from cellphone to perfumes and toiletry, from watches to parts of automobiles, sunglasses to truck and bus tires, footwear to diamonds and edible oils to fruit juices - costly by raising customs duty. But the customs duties would only make costs higher, undercutting the government attempt to make viable and necessary goods for the domestic, and perhaps, if possible, goods for exports. "It's not on reimbursement model because too many complaints come on the reimbursement model", Mr Jaitley said at an event organised by "Open" magazine.

The approval of the Bharatmala Pariyojana to provide connectivity to interior and backward areas and borders of the country by developing about 35,000 km of road is positive for the insurance sector, given the opportunity to insure projects worth Rs 5,35,000 crore.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced an aggressive reachout to farmers and the poor in the new Budget, but analysts say it remains to be seen if this course correction will work.

The opposition parties were up in arms after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a cut in corporate tax in the previous budget.

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