Budget will strengthen New India: Modi


Articulating his vision for the general election of 2019 quite clearly, he has recognised the existence of rural distress, amplified by a string of farmer protests and suicides a year ago provoked by falling commodity prices and increasing debt.

"That will probably improve upon the collection and therefore meeting the fiscal deficit targets in coming years would be much easier than what it was in current year", he said. China, by contrast, spent 3.1 percent of its GDP on health care in 2014; the United States spent 8.3 percent in the same year.

The second clear narrative in Modi Vision 2019 is the creation of jobs. "This will augment the ease of starting own businesses while helping existing business", he added.

"Loans to self-help groups of women increased to about Rs 42,000 crore in 2016-17, growing 37 per cent over the previous year", Jaitley said in his Union Budget speech.

Chidambaram yesterday said that the promise of Rs 5 lakh per family for secondary and tertiary healthcare was a "big jumla". The Government has finally focused on what was most essential for Healthcare.

On education, the Budget has announced Eklavya schools for tribals as well as 24 new medical colleges and 1,000 new fellowships for doctoral students.

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The National Health Protection Scheme, which the government dubs "Modicare", was announced in Thursday's budget for 2018/19 and would provide 100 million families, or about 500 million poor people, with a health cover of 500,000 rupees per year for free treatment of serious ailments. The expense could be monumental.

The move is sure to be popular in a country where most people have no health insurance and per capita income is a few dollars a day.

Top officials in the Aayog said that Gandhi Jayanti, on October 2, was the "upper limit" deadline for the formal launch while the fullscale rollout, subject to the pace of work by states, is expected to take place in about one-and-a-half years. Rs. 1.48 lakh crore will be allocated for railways in the next fiscal. The rest remain "in progress".

These spending measures will result in a higher deficit. It is a tough ask, according to Crisil chief economist Dharmakirti Joshi, one of the eminent economists in our panel of commentators, but not entirely unachievable. Arun Jaitley highlighted how this budget will be greatly beneficial for the retired class. If world economy grows to 3.9 percent, then India will be the fastest growing country.

Also, there is nothing to spur the investment rate which has fallen from a peak of almost 34.3 per cent in 2011-12 to 26.4 per cent in 2017-18. "There is, as yet, no scheme", he had said. It must be ensured that the benefits reach the target population. Meanwhile, throwing some more light on the national health scheme, Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said a lot of specificities will be brought into the scheme by the first quarter of the next fiscal. Has that leaky bucket been fixed?

The automobile industry sees no respite from the present GST and cess rates, the luxury auto prices have been increased and the electric vehicle have no mention in the budget 2018.