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The entire nation had its minds hooked ,with hopes of positive change to 29 February ,the date when Mr. Arun Jaitley was to present his second annual budget. The union financial Budget came up yet again, bringing reasons to cheer for some , while crushing the hopes of some others. A distinctive feature of this year’s budget was the inclusion of common man’s suggestions in framing the budget for the first time through Prime Minister’s pet MyGov platform . The citizen suggestions included introduction of a 0.5% agricultural cess, direct benefit transfer for fertilizers, introduction of a Gram Swarajaya Scheme and a separate irrigation fund to reduce dependence on monsoon rains.
Unlike last year,it cannot be termed as a suit-boot budget, as the ultra rich would be the ones who would have to bear the highest expenses. While those earning upto 5 lakh a year will get additional tax exemption,those earning more than Rs 1 crore annually would have to shell out more tax. Tax rates would also go up on cars and jewellery items. The budget also burnt a hole in the pockets of the salaried ones by imposing tax on PF withdrawal,which has become a common discussion point.Even the tax on bottled water,a common man’s need is set to go up .On the positive side, the fiscal deficit target has been retained at 3.5%,leading to speculations of an interest rate cut by the RBI. The education and health sector are set to scale new heights with adequate plans for their further development. Infrastructure is another sector promising great returns in future, with increase in rail,road connectivity.
The budget has high returns for the poor. The money invested in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act(MGNREGA) has been increased to Rs 38500 crore, and the scope of MUDRA(Micro Units Development and Refiance Agency) is set to be widened.The funds would be used to improve condition of rural roads and ensure electricity supply to all villages. More employment opportunities are also set to come up with allowance of 100% FDI in marketing of food products produced in India,boosting the Make in India campaign.The revised customs and excise duty rates would yield key benefits in various domains like IT hardware,capital goods ,defence products.The government also allocated Rs 2000 crore to expand the reach of cooking gas to poor households. Also on the housing front,increased tax benefits for first time home buyers is proposed,which may benefit home buyers in tier2, tier3 cities.
Technology also has a major role to play in budget2016. New techno-centric projects are planned, like online agricultural marketing platform, digital food grain procurement system, automated fair price shops which may lead to huge growth of the nation. All in all, the budget looks quite promising with focus on growth and using technology to ensure transparency, speed and efficiency. The actual results would be there for all to see in just about a few months.