Budget 2018-19: World’s largest healthcare programme announced

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Union Budget 2018-19 in the Parliament on Thursday, where he had a challenge to not just realise the ‘New India’ dream by spurring growth, but also meet expectations of millions of people and different sections of society and businesses of the country.

World’s largest govt-funded health programme – ‘National Health Protection Scheme’ was announced. It will cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable families by providing upto Rs 5 lakh per family per year. The government will launch ‘Revitalising of Infrastructure and Systems in Education’ by 2022 with a total investment of Rs 1 lakh crore in next 4 years.

The focus is on low-cost farming, higher Minimum Support Price of all crops shall be increased to at least 1.5 times that of the production cost.

Hardwork of farmers resulted in a record production of more than 275 million tonnes of food grain and about 300 million tonnes of horticultural produce, FM said.

He proposed to raise institutional credit for agriculture to Rs 11 lakh crore for 2018-19. National Livelihood Mission allocated Rs. 5,750 cr in 2018-19.

Bamboo is green gold and restructured National Bamboo Mission will be launched with an allocation of Rs 1,290 crore to promote bamboo sector in a holistic manner, Jaitley said.

Air Pollution in Delhi NCR is a cause for concern, special scheme will be implemented to support Govts of Haryana, Punjab, UP and Delhi NCT to address it and subsidize machinery for management of crop residue, FM said.

By 2022, every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal people will have ‘Ekalavya’ school at par with Navodaya Vidyalas.

Government plans to construct 2 crore more toilets under Swachh Bharat Mission.

Allocation for SC welfare – Rs. 56,619 cr and Rs. 39,135 cr for ST welfare, FM informed.

This budget is significant as it was Modi government’s fifth and final full budget. It is also the first one after GST implementation.

On Thursday morning, FM briefed President Ram Nath Kovind about the budget, which was be followed by a customary cabinet meeting and finally, in the Parliament at 11 am for budget presentation in the Lok Sabha.

Excitement and curiousity is seen in every individual. What’s certain is that the budget will be focussed on rural and agriculture sectors apart from the poor. The Economic Survey has already indicated that greater attention is likely for agriculture, employment and education needs.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already disclosed his vision for New India, which will be created by 2022.

President Kovind had also said during his joint sitting address that 2018 is a critical year for the New India mission and the roadmap for a New India is on the cards for the budget.


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