Budget 2017 highlights: Jaitley says steps taken to honour honest taxpayers

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By
Feb 01, 2017 07:00 PM IST

Finance minister Arun Jaitley has pledged relief for middle class taxpayers and small and medium-sized companies while planning spending to double farmers’ incomes over the next five years and improve the country’s ramshackle infrastructure and provide cheap homes to people.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday sought to ramp up spending on rural areas and infrastructure as well as hand out marginal tax relief to the middle-class and small businesses in his budget proposals for 2017-18, which he said will help beat the fallout of demonetisation. (FULL VIDEO: BUDGET 2017 | READ FULL BUDGET SPEECH HERE)

Finance minister Arun Jaitley arrives at the Parliament House to present the Union Budget 2017-18 on Wednesday.(Sonu Mehta/HT Photo)
Finance minister Arun Jaitley arrives at the Parliament House to present the Union Budget 2017-18 on Wednesday.(Sonu Mehta/HT Photo)

The budget saw Jaitley moving to ease back on cutting the deficit as he announced increases in allocation across sectors, including a 24% hike in spending on rural India and a 35% raise in allocation for Dalits. His infrastructure outlay for the financial year starting April 1 was pegged at a whopping Rs 3.9-lakh crore.

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Budget 2017: Arun Jaitley halves tax for those earning between Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 5 lakh

Here are the day’s highlights on the Union Budget 2017/18:

5.50pm: Finance minister Arun Jaitley has pledged relief for middle-class taxpayers and small and medium-sized companies in his budget. Here are the important number from this year’s budget:

Finance minister Arun Jaitley unveiled sweeping measures in his budget speech on Wednesday that ranged from boosting farm growth to easing the burden on the salaried middle class. Here are the big 10 numbers from his speech:
  • 5%: Income tax for people with incomes between 2.5 lakh -5 lakh, down from 10%
  • Rs 2,000: Maximum donation political parties can receive in cash from one source
  • 35%: Increase in personal income tax because of scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes
  • 25%: Tax rate for companies with an annual turnover up to 50 crore
  • Rs 3 lakh: Maximum quantum of cash transaction allowed
  • 17%: Growth in tax revenue
  • 3.2%: Fiscal deficit as a percentage of India’s GDP
  • 24%: Increase in rural spending
  • 35%: Increase in funds allocation for scheduled castes
  • 6%: Increase in defence spending

5.50pm: To find out what the government has done with the most important budget schemes, visit the Hindustan Times dashboard

5.41pm: We are looking at non-transitory impact of demonetisation.Who is the government trying to fool? Don’t duck the issue: Shashi Tharoor to CNN News 18.

5.34pm: Congress leader Anand Sharma: The budget is lacking in direction and has no proposal for accelerating manufacturing or job creation.

5pm: Railway minister Suresh Prabhu: There is no mention of new trains. New trains have nothing to do with the budget. We are already working on coach mitra, bio-toilets, dedicated trains for pilgrimage and track innovation for safety

4.45pm: Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan: Proposal to constitute integrated companies in petroleum market and reduction of basic customs duty on LNG are big steps.

4.09pm: If tax returns are filed, both the donor and the donee will get exemption on tax in political donations.

  • Cigarettes, pan masala, cigar, cheroots, bidis, chewing tobacco
  • LED lamp components
  • Cashew nuts (roasted and salted)
  • Aluminum ores and concentrates
  • Polymer coated MS tapes used in manufacturing of optical fibres
  • Silver coins and medallions
  • Printed circuit board used in making mobile phones
  • Booking railway tickets online
  • RO membrane elements for household usage
  • LNG
  • Solar tempered glass used in solar panels
  • Fuel cell-based power generating systems
  • Wind operated energy generator
  • Vegetable tanning extracts used in making leather products
  • Point of Sale (PoS) machines card and fingerprint readers
  • Group insurance for Defence services

4.07pm: Finance minister Arun Jaitley: Employment not a separate chapter, many measures in Budget 2017 to increase job creation.

4.02pm: Finance minister Arun Jaitley: The present status quo has failed, electoral bonds a new system for cleaner political funding.

Hindustan Times dashboard on budget schemes

4pm: Finance minister Arun Jaitley: Electoral bonds to be redeemable only in notified accounts of political parties. The present status quo has failed, electoral bonds a new system for cleaner political funding.

3.59pm: Finance minister Arun Jaitley: Mass donations more preferable than single big donations.

3.54pm: Finance minister Arun Jaitley: We have made an effort to honour honest taxpayers.

3.51pm: Finance minister Arun Jaitley: There has been a strong focus on rural and infrastructure sectors.

3.48pm: Finance minister Arun Jaitley addresses the media.

3.35pm: Sensex up by 485.68 points; currently at 28,141.64. Nifty at 8,716.40.

3.32pm: Power minister Piyush Goyal: Budget 2017 recognised benefits of demonetisation and passed it on to people of India.

3.27pm: It is a budget of ‘Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas’; it keeps every sector under consideration: Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh.

3.14pm: It’s a very well-rounded budget that seeks to address requirements of various segments in the economy: Chanda Kochhar, CEO, ICICI.

3.03pm: It’s a brilliant idea that merits thinking and whose time must come: FM Jaitley on Universal Basic Income.

3.01pm: Kiran Mazumdar Shaw: I would say it’s a safe budget.

2.32pm: Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge: The identity of rail budget was lost by merging it with the main budget.

2.20pm: BJP chief Amit Shah: This budget is women- and poor-friendly budget. PM Modi has fulfilled his promise made in 2014 to bring in transparency in politics.

2.10pm: Union minister Nitin Gadkari: It will bring our economy to the No.1 position; it’s revolutionary change. This budget will bring transparency in politics.

1.48pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi: This budget will help small businesses to become competitive in the global market.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi: The commitment to eliminate corruption and black money is reflected in the budget

1.43pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi: The housing sector stands to gain immensely.

1.42pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi: Special emphasis has been given to women empowerment.

1.39pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi: The aim of the government is to double the income of farmers.

1.38pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi: The merger of the railway budget with the general budget will give an impetus to the transport sector’s growth.

1.37pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi: The finance minister has presented an ‘uttam’ budget, devoted to strengthening the hands of the poor.

1.33pm: How are they fighting UP elections? Did they get donations in cheques or digital payment: Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury.

1.26pm: What is the need to present the budget every year? Were all announcements of last year’s budget fulfilled: Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.

1.25pm: Former RBI governor C Rangarajan describes Budget 2017 as ‘fairly routine’.

1.20pm: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi: There have been accidents. Did he (Jaitley) say anything about rail safety?

1.19pm: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi: Any step to clean political funding will be supported by us.

1.19pm: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi: Sher-o-shayari ka budget hai, kisaano ke liye kuch nahi kia, yuvaon ke liye kuch nahi kiya. We were expecting fireworks, instead got a damp squib.

1.15pm: Jaitley has said Indian Railways will focus on four major areas. They are:

1. Passenger safety

2. Capital and development work

3. Cleanliness

4. Financial and accounting reforms

1.08pm: The budget numbers don’t seem to add up, as there is huge expansion on government spending on schemes. The budget is rhetorical, but in actually creating jobs there is precious little. Railways got a cursory mention: Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari.

1.08pm: Jaitley’s budget speech has concluded. He unveiled sweeping measures that ranged from boosting farm growth to easing the burden on the salaried middle-class. Here are the big 10 numbers from his speech:

5%: Income tax for people with incomes between 2.5 lakh -5 lakh, down from 10%

Rs 2,000: Maximum donation political parties can receive in cash from one source

35%: Increase in personal income tax because of scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes

25%: Tax rate for companies with an annual turnover up to 50 crore

Rs 3 lakh: Maximum quantum of cash transaction allowed

17%: Growth in tax revenue

3.2%: Fiscal deficit as a percentage of India’s GDP

24%: Increase in rural spending

35%: Increase in funds allocation for scheduled castes

6%: Increase in defence spending

1.05pm: Sensex rises 265.79 points, at 27,921.75.

1.01pm: It is a path breaking budget, a new era has begun: Railway minister Suresh Prabhu.

1pm: Lok Sabha adjourned after Jaitley concludes his budget speech.

-- GST Council finalised its recommendations. Implementation of GST likely to bring more taxes to Centre, states.

12.58pm: No scrutiny on fist-time taxpayers.


-- No tax on annual income of Rs 4.5 lakh who use rebates.

-- Net revenue foregone on income tax changes is Rs 12,800 crore.

-- Surcharge of 10% on annual income of Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore. 15% surcharge on incomes above Rs 1 crore to continue.

12.51pm: Propose to reduce existing rate of taxation of those with income between 2.5 lakh to 5 lakh from 10% to 5%.

12.50pm: More burden on taxpayer showing income correctly.

12.46pm: Political funding needs transparency in India. Political parties can receive donations in cheque and digital modes. Amendment of RBI Act to issue electoral bonds.

-- No transaction above Rs 3 lakh to be permitted in cash

12.43pm: Maximum donation a political party can receive in cash is Rs 2,000 from any one source.

12.41pm: Limit of Rs 2000 on cash donations to charities. SIT suggests and government has accepted that cash transaction not to be allowed above Rs 3 lakh.

12.40pm: Basic customs reduced from 5% to 2.5% on LNG terminals.

12.39pm: Rs 7,200 crore revenue will be foregone on account of tax rebate to MSME.

12.38pm: Income tax for small companies with an annual turn over of 50 crore, now to pay 25%, a 5% reduction.

12.36pm: Startups to pay tax on profits for three out of seven years, increased from three out of five years.

12.35pm: Carry forward of MAT allowed for 15 years

-- Capital gains tax to be exempted, for persons holding land from which land was pooled for creation of state capital of Telangana

-- There is an urgent need to protect the poor from chit fund schemes, draft bill placed in public domain.

-- Due efforts taken by the government there has been a 17% growth in tax revenue.

-- Plan to extend basket of financial instruments to which the capital gains can be invested sans payment of tax.

-- Thanks to demonetisation... advance personal income tax grew by 34.8% in 2016-2017.

-- The thrust of tax proposal is to stimulate growth, focus on middle class, curbing black money, digital economy, etc.

-- Analysis after demonetisation presents revealing picture.

-- We are largely a tax non-compliant country. Burden of those who evade taxes falls on the honest.

-- 24 lakh people show income above Rs 10 lakh.

-- 1.7 crore people file returns out of 4.2 crore salaried people.

-- Jaitley begins tax proposals.

-- Revenue deficit pegged at 1.9% of the GDP.

-- Fiscal deficit pegged at 3.2% of GDP. Adherence to fiscal consolidation to continue. FRBM review committee recommended 3% fiscal deficit for next thee years.

-- Total resources being transferred to the states and union territories with legislature is Rs 4.11 lakh crore.

-- Defence expenditure excluding pension at Rs 2.74 lakh crore.

-- Total expenditure of budget 2017-18 has been placed at Rs 21.47 lakh crore.

-- Aadhaar-enabled payment system to be launched soon.Banks have targeted to introduce additional 10 lakh point-of-sale terminals by March 17.

-- Introduction of new rules for confiscating domestic assets of those flee the country to avoid enforcement of law.

-- Twenty lakh Aadhaar-based swipe machines by 2020.

-- Payment regulatory board will be created the in Reserve Bank of India.

-- The focus will be on rural, semi-urban areas (for digital payment push).

-- SIDBI to refinance credit companies for disbursement of small loans.

-- Merchant version of Aadhaar-enabled pay will be launched shortly.

-- India now at the cusp of massive digital revolution.

-- Rs 10,000 crore to be provided for recapitalisation of banks.

-- Integrated public sector oil company to be created.

-- Mission Antyodaya to bring one crore households out of poverty and to make 50,000 Gram Panchayats poverty-free.

-- Action plan to eliminate kala azar and filariasis by 2017, leprosy by 2018, measles by 2020 and tuberculosis by 2025.

-- For easier FDI regime, Foreign Investment Promotion Board will be phased out in 2017. This would mean that the foreign companies wanting to invest in India, will not have to wait for the Foreign Investment Promotion Board’s approval.

-- Trade infrastructure scheme will be launched in 2017-18.

-- Select airports in tier-II cities will be taken in PPP mode.

-- Transport sector allocated Rs 2.41 lakh crore and Bharat Net Project allocated Rs 10,000 crore.

-- Budget increase for highways from Rs 57,676 crore to Rs 64,000 crore.

-- A new metro rail policy will be announced, this will open up new jobs for our youth.

-- Service charges on railway e-tickets will be withdrawn.

-- All coaches of Indian Railways will be fitted with bio-toilets. Unmanned crossings will be eliminated by 2018. 3,500 railway lines will be commissioned.

-- Railways will integrate end to end transport solutions for selected commodities through partnership.

-- Four focus areas for Indian Railways: Passenger safety, capital and development work, cleanliness and financial and accounting norms.

-- Rail safety fund with corpus of Rs 100,000 crore will be created over a period of five years.

-- For senior citizens, Aadhaar cards giving their health condition will be introduced.

-- Allocation for scheduled castes from Rs 38,800 to Rs 52,000.

-- Two new centres of medical sciences in Jharkhand and Gujarat.

-- Additional 5,000 PG seats for medical sciences.

-- Affordable housing to get infrastructure status.

-- Safe drinking water to cover 28,000 arsenic and fluoride affected habitations in the next four years.

-- For youth, we propose to introduce a system of measuring annual learning; science will be given focus.

-- Good quality institutions will have more autonomy. Colleges will be given autonomous status.

-- Total allocation for rural, agricultural and allied sectors for 2017-18 is Rs 187223 crore, which is 24% higher than last year.

-- Dedicated micro-irrigation fund will b set up by NABARD to achieve goal of ‘Per Drop More Crop’.Initial corpus will be Rs 5000 crore.

-- Open defecation free villages are now being given priority for pipe to water supply.

-- One crore house by 2019. PM Ayas Yojana allocation for 2017-18 will be Rs 23,000, up from Rs 15,000 crore in last budget. 100% village electrification by May 1, 2018.

-- Budget allocation to MNREGA increased to a record Rs 48,000 crore for 2017-18, from Rs 37,000 crore in 2016-17. Five lakh ponds target achieved for 2016/17. Another five lakh ponds to be taken up in 2017/18 for drought proofing of villages.

-- Participation of women in MNREGA has increased to 55%

-- Target of agricultural loans to farmers set at record Rs 10 lakh crore in 2017/18.

-- GST, demonetisation two tectonic policy initiatives

-- We have witnessed historic and impactful economic reform and policymaking

-- Number of global reports show India has considerably improved its policies, profile and practice

-- Three challenges in current global scenario: Monetary stance of US FED Reserve, commodity prices specially crude oil and retreat from globalisation

-- A model law on contract farming will be circulated among states for consultation.

-- Dairy processing infrastructure fund will be set up under NABARD, with fund of 8,000 crore.

-- Issuance of soil health cards have gathered momentum, will setup a mini lab in Krishi Vigyan Kendras.

-- With better monsoon, agriculture is expected to grow at 4.1% in current year.

-- Uncertainty around commodity prices, especially around crude oil, is one of the major challenges.

-- India continues to stand as a bright spot in the world economic landscape.

-- Signs of retreat from globalisation have potential to affect exports from many emerging economies, including India.

-- Uncertainty around commodity prices, especially around crude oil, second major challenge.

-- Current monetary plance of the US Federal reserve one of three challenges.

-- My approach in preparing the Budget 2017 is to spend more on rural areas, infrastructure and poverty alleviation with fiscal prudence.

-- Focus of budget is to spend more in rural areas, infrastructure and poverty alleviation, yet maintain best standards of fiscal prudence.

Ten budget themes:

*Double farm income in five years

*Rural infrastructure

*Youth skills and jobs

*Social security, health, housing

*Infra for efficiency and better living standards

*Growth and stability

*Digital economy

*Public service through people’s participation

*Prudent fiscal management

*Honouring the honest

-- Pace of remonetisation has picked up and will soon be normal. Impact will not be visible next year.

-- Effect of demonetisation will not spill into the next year.

-- I am reminded of what the Father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi said -- “a right cause never fails”.

-- The advanced economies are expected to increase their growth from 1.6%-1.9% and emerging economies from 4.1%-4.5%.

-- Demonetisation is a bold and decisive measure... It seeks to create a new normal wherein the GDP will be bigger, cleaner and real.

-- India is seen as engine of global growth, have witnessed historic reform in last one year.

-- International Monetary Fund estimates that the world GDP will grow by 3.1% in 2016 and 3.4% in 2017.

-- FDI increase was 36% despite 5% fall in global FDI flow.

-- We have moved from a discretionary administration to a policy-based administration.

-- Our government was elected amid huge expectations of people, the underlying theme of expectations being good governance.

-- Spring is season of expectations…there was expectation of major change.

-- The government is now seen as a trusted custodian of public money,I express gratitude to people for their strong support. World economy faces uncertainty.

11.07am: Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge says the House should be adjourned today and budget should be presented tomorrow. Speaker overrules him.

11.06am: House may go ahead in exceptional situation, will not sit tomorrow as mark of respect to E Ahamed: Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.

11.03am: Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan pays obituary to E Ahamed. I would have adjourned the House, but today’s sitting has been fixed by President for presentation of Budget 2017.

10.52am: Budget has a sanctity, we are already in the eleventh hour. There should be no controversy over it.It’s a constitutional obligation: Union minister Venkaiah Naidu.

10.44am: Saddened by E Ahamed ji’s death but budget will be presented: Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.

10.36am: The budget will be presented today; it will be formally announce shortly.

10.32am: Postponement of budget will be no big deal. It’s not as if the secrecy will break: HD Deve Gowda. | Read: Kharge alleges govt delayed announcement of Ahamed’s death deliberately

10.25am: It’s neither possible nor correct: Subhash Kashyap, Constitution expert on postponement of budget after papers reach Parliament.

10.19am: Finance minister Arun Jaitley tweets: Watch me live presenting the Union Budget 2017 at 11 am, February 1, 2017

10.16am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at E Ahamed ‘s residence.

10.14am: It’s not March 31, there is a lot of time to present the budget. The government can postpone it: Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge.

10.07am: I think the government already knew that he (Ahamed) had passed away, but they were trying to maybe delay the announcement (of his death): Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge.

10.07am: In our opinion, including JDU leaders and former PM Deve Gowda, the budget should be postponed: Congress leader Mallikarjun Khadge.

10.03am: Finance minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament.

10.02am: Cabinet meeting to be held shortly in Parliament.

9.49am: Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to visit E Ahamed ‘s residence at 10am.

9.47am: Finance minister Arun Jaitley reaches Parliament.

9.28am: Budget will be presented and Ahamed’s obituary may happen before or after it. The government has spoken to all parties and arrived at a consensus, an official source has told ANI.

9.10am: Budget 2017 copies reach Parliament. Finance minister Arun Jaitley is meeting President Pranab Mukherjee.

9.01am: Final decision on budget to be taken by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan; decision expected by 10am.

8.22am: Normally, House is adjourned on death of a sitting MP, so chances are the budget can be postponed for a day. But Speaker will decide: Santosh Gangwar.


    Nisheeth Upadhyay manages and edits the news sections of He manages the homepage, handles daily news and plans and organises long-term projects. His idea of fun is handling big, breaking news.

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