• The Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley said that agriculture is expected to grow at 4.1 percent in the current year i.e. 2016-17 as the total area sown under kharif and rabi seasons are higher than the previous year.
• Presenting the 2017-18 Union Budget, the Finance Minister said that adequate credit would be made available to the farmers in time and the target for agricultural credit in 2017-18 has been fixed at a record level of Rs. 10 lakh crores. He said that special efforts would be taken to ensure adequate flow of credit to the under serviced areas, the Eastern states and Jammu & Kashmir. The farmers will also benefit from 60 days’ interest waiver announced by the Prime Minister in respect of their loans from the cooperative credit structure.
• The coverage of Fasal Bima Yojana will be increased from 30 percent of cropped area in 2016-17 to 40 percent in 2017-18 and further to 50 percent in 2018-19. The Finance Minister said that the Union Budget provision of Rs. 5,500 crores for the Fasal Bima Yojana in B.E. 2016-17 was increased to Rs. 13,240 crores in R.E. 2016-17 to settle the arrear claims. For 2017-18, a sum of Rs. 9,000 crores will be provided and the sum insured under the Fasal Bima Yojana has more than doubled from Rs. 69,000 crores in Kharif 2015 to Rs. 1,41,625 crores in Kharif 2016.
• Referring to his last year’s budget speech, where the Finance Minister had focused on ‘income security’ of farmers to double their income in 5 years, Shri Jaitley said that the government will take more steps and enable the farmers to increase their production and productivity and to deal with post-harvest challenges. The coverage of National Agricultural Market (e-NAM) will be expanded from the current 250 markets to 585 APMCs. Moreover, assistance up to a ceiling of Rs. 75 lakhs will be provided to every e-NAM market for establishment of cleaning, grading and packaging facilities.
• Admitting that dairy is an important source of additional income for the farmers, the Finance Minister announced that a Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development Fund would be set-up in NABARD with a corpus of Rs. 8,000 crores over 3 years. He said that issuance of Soil Health Cards has gathered momentum, even as the government has decided to set-up new mini labs in Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) and ensure 100 percent coverage of all 648 KVKs in the country.
• The Finance Minister said that the pace of construction of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, (PMGSY) roads has accelerated to reach 133 km roads per day in 2016-17, as against an average of 73 km during the period 2011-2014. He said that the government is committed to complete the current target under PMGSY by 2019 and a sum of Rs. 19,000 crore has been provided in 2017-18 for this scheme.
• The Finance Minister said that one crore houses would be completed by 2019 for the houseless and those living in kutcha houses as the government has stepped up the allocation for Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana – Gramin from Rs. 15,000 crores in B.E. 2016-17 to Rs. 23,000 crores in 2017-18.
• The Finance Minister expressed the hope that 100 percent village electrification would be achieved by 1st May 2018 and he added that an increased allocation of Rs. 4,814 crores has been proposed under the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana in 2017-18.
• The Finance Minister said that the government has proposed to increase the allocations for Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana- National Rural Livelihood Mission for promotion of skill development and livelihood opportunities for people in rural areas to Rs. 4,500 crore in 2017-18.
• The allocation for Prime Minister's Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) and Credit Support Schemes has been increased more than 3 times.
• The Finance Minister said that the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) has made tremendous progress in promoting safe sanitation and ending open defecation. The sanitation coverage in rural India has gone up from 42 percent in October 2014 to about 60 percent and such villages are now being given priority for piped water supply.
• The Finance Minister said that for imparting new skills to the people in the rural areas, mason training will be provided to 5 lakh persons by 2022, with an immediate target of training at least 20,000 persons by 2017-18.
• The Finance Minister while presenting the Union Budget 2017-18 in Parliament said that the government proposes to extend the number of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras from current 60 to cover more than 600 districts across the country. He said 100 India International Skills Centres will be established across the country. These centres would offer advanced training and also courses in foreign languages. This will help those youth who seek job opportunities outside the country.
• The Finance Minister said that in the financial year 2017-18, a programme SANKALP (Skill Acquistion and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion Programme) will be launched at a cost of Rs. 4,000 crore. SANKALP will provide market relevant training to 3.5 crore youth.
• An allocation of Rs. 22,095 crore has been made for the Ministry of Women and Child Development in the Union Budget for the financial year 2017-18, showing an increase of 27 percent over the year 2016-17 (B.E.). The Union Budget 2017-18, presented in the Parliament by the Finance Minister also includes a provision of Rs. 2,700 crore for the Maternity Benefit Programme announced by the Prime Minister for pregnant women across the country. Under this scheme, Rs. 6,000 each will be transferred directly to bank accounts of pregnant women who undergo institutional delivery and vaccinate their children.
• In the Union Budget, an allocation of Rs. 16,745 crore has been made for the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme for the FY 2017-18 as compared to the allocation of Rs. 14,850 in B.E. 2016-17.
• The allocation for the flagship Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme has been doubled to Rs. 200 crore in 2017-18. An amount of Rs. 200 crore has been provisioned for the National Creche Scheme, while the scheme for adolescent girls has been apportioned Rs. 460 crore. Rs. 50 crore is proposed to be spent on Hostels for Working Women. The Child Protection Scheme has also seen a substantial increase to Rs. 648 crore as compared to Rs. 397 crore in B.E. 2016-17.
• The allocation for the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation in 2017-18 Union Budget has been raised by more than 11 percent.
• The allocation for the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation in 2016-17 was Rs. 6,201 crore, which has been increased to Rs. 6,887 crore in 2017-17 Union Budget. The allocation for Namami Gange programme has also been increased from Rs. 2,150 crore to Rs. 2,250 crore. The corpus of Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF) instituted in NABARD as part of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) has been doubled from Rs. 20,000 crore to 40,000 crore. The government had made a budgetary provision of Rs. 12,517 crore for the fund in the Union budget of 2016-17.
Union Budget Speech 2017-18 delivered by Arun Jaitley on 1 February, 2017 (please click here to access)
Please click here to access the Union Budget Primer, which has been prepared by Avinash Celestine for PRS Legislative Research, February, 2008.