Jaitley’s Budget 2018 speech highlights: Farmers, rural India main theme

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley delivered his Budget 2018 speech on Thursday, with the government focusing on the agricultural sector and farmers’ income.

Here are the main highlights:

1) With demonetisation, the quantum of cash currency in circulation has decreased and the tax base has increased. It has improved the digitalisation of our country, says Arun Jaitley. He also added that foreign direct investment has gone up, while the GDP at 6.3% is a signal of a turnaround in the economy.

2) He added that exports are expected to grow at 15% in 2018-19 and that the government is on track to achieve 8% growth.

3) Arun Jaitley lists out major government schemes implemented in recent years. “We have worked sincerely without weighing political costs.” Services being delivered at doorsteps and into accounts – this has reduced the role of middlemen and corruption, he says.

4) After improvement in ease of doing business, finance minister says the focus is now on “ease of living”.

5) This year’s budget will particularly focus on strengthening the rural economy, Jaitley says. India has improved by 42 places in the Ease of Doing Business rankings.

6) Recapitalised PSU banks are ready to support growth; achieved 7.5% average growth in three years of NDA government

7) Want farmers to earn 1.5 times the cost of produce of their crops: Jaitley says on the government’s promise of doubling farm incomes in five years.

8) “The government will create an institutional mechanism involving all concerned ministries so that the farmers get a better price for their produce,” says Jaitley.

9) Jaitley said MSP for Kharif Crops will be 1.5 times the Cost Of Produce.

10) Jaitley proposes Rs 5 billion Budget allocation for Operation Green.

11) Cultivation of horticulture crops in clusters can boost production and marketing, says Jaitley.

12) Agri-market Development Fund with a corpus of Rs 20 billion to be set up for developing agricultural markets.

13) India’s agriculture export potential is $100 billion as against today’s $30 billion, says Arun Jaitley. He also added that food processing sector is growing at 8 per cent.business-standard.