New Delhi, Feb 1: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present Union Budget 2018-19 in Parliament today. The Finance Bill 2018 will be presented in Parliament at 11 am today. Speculation has been rife that Jaitley may announce an increase in income tax exemption limit to Rs 3 lakh from Rs 2 lakh 50 thousand. Many are also expecting a populist budget since this is the last full Budget before the term of the Narendra Modi government comes to an end. Stay with us for Live updates on Budget 2018. Also Read - Winter Session of Parliament Unlikely If COVID-19 Situation Doesn’t Improve In Delhi
Ahead of the Budget, Jaitley tabled the Economic Survey 2018 in Parliament on Monday, January 29. The Survey, known as the government’s annual report card that sets the tone for Budget, projected India’s growth at 7-7.5 per cent in 2018-19. The Economy Survey also highlights Goods & Services Tax (GST) as one of the biggest achievements of the Modi government. (Also Read: Funds for PM Employment Scheme May be Cut) Also Read - PM Narendra Modi Gets Slightly Richer, HM Amit Shah Poorer As Per Assets Declaration
However, the Economic Survey has projected crude oil prices to be increasing by 12 per cent in 2018, which it says is worrisome. There has also been demands of either bringing down excise duty on petrol and diesel or bring fuel under the purview of GST to give some relief from rising prices. It will be interesting to see if Jaitley provides for any relief from rising fuel prices in his Budget. Also Read - Late Arun Jaitley's Son Rohan Files Nomination For DDCA President's Post
Reports also say that Jaitley might announce increase in income tax exemption limit to Rs 3 lakh from Rs 2 lakh 50 thousand in Budget 2018-19, to give more money to the masses to spend and invest. The government may also reportedly bring a new tax slab for people with income between Rs 5 and 7.50 lakh annually. These people are required to pay 20 per cent tax. The government may decrease their tax from 20 to 10 per cent.
Reports also say that the Modi government might lay special emphasis on women’s employment this Budget. According to reports, the government can provide incentives to employers for hiring women employees. Speculation is also rife that the Modi government may increase funds for health and education this Budget.
For Railways, Jaitley may announce new and fast-paced trains in Budget 2018. Railway ministry officials have said that modernisation is one of the prime focus of the government. Railway minister Piyush Goel’s entire focus is on Set 18 and 20. Train Set 18 will be semi-high speed, which means it will run at a speed of 160 kmph. CCTV cameras on stations and trains is also a possibility being looked at in Budget 2018.
The government is also expected to make important announcements in farming, energy and automobile sector in Budget 2018.