Union Budget And Other Economic Policies

Union Budget And Other Economic Policies

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According to the Union Budget Speech 2015-16 delivered by Arun Jaitley (Please click here to download) on 28 February, 2015:

• The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has downgraded its earlier forecast of global economic growth by 0.3 percent, and the World Trade Organization has revised its forecast of world trade growth from 5.3 percent to 4 percent. Forecasts for India, however, have either been upgraded, or remained the same, without downgrades.

• In November, 2012, CPI inflation, stood at 11.2%. The latest CPI inflation rate is 5.1%, and the wholesale price inflation is negative. The Central Statistics Office has recently released a new series for GDP, which involves a number of changes relative to the old series. Based on the new series, estimated GDP growth for 2014-15 is 7.4%. Growth in 2015-16 is expected to be between 8 to 8.5%.


• In keeping with the true spirit of co-operative federalism, NDA Govt. devolved a 42% share of the divisible pool of taxes to States. The devolution to the states would be of the order of Rs. 5.24 lakh crore in 2015-16 as against the devolution of Rs. 3.38 lakh crore as per revised estimates of 2014-15. Another Rs. 3.04 lakh crore would be transferred by way of grants and plan transfers. Thus, total transfer to the States will be about 62% of the total tax receipts of the country.

• Instead of fixing a target of reducing fiscal deficit to 3 percent of GDP in 2015-16, the Finance Minister's road map for fiscal consolidation is a fiscal deficit of 3.9% for 2015-16, 3.5% for 2016-17 and 3.0% for 2017-18.


The Budget provided for allocation of Rs. 5,300 crore to support micro-irrigation, watershed development and the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana.The Minister urged the States to chip in substantially in this vital sector.

Micro Units Development Refinance Agency (MUDRA) Bank

The Finance Minister has proposed to create a Micro Units Development Refinance Agency (MUDRA) Bank, with a corpus of Rs. 20,000 crore, and credit guarantee corpus of Rs. 3,000 crore. MUDRA Bank will refinance Micro-Finance Institutions through a Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana. In lending, priority will be given to SC/ST enterprises. It is worth noting that there are some 5.77 crore small business units, mostly individual proprietorship, which run small manufacturing, trading or service businesses. 62% of these are owned by SC/ST/OBC.

Agriculture Credit with a Special Focus on Small and Marginal Farmers

The Finance Minister, presenting the Union Budget 2015-16, supported the agriculture sector with the help of effective and hassle-free agriculture credit, with a special focus on small and marginal farmers. He proposed the Budget allocation of Rs. 25,000 crore in 2015-16 to the corpus of Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) set up in NABARD; Rs. 15,000 crore for Long Term Rural Credit Fund; Rs. 45,000 crore for Short Term Cooperative Rural Credit Refinance Fund; and Rs. 15,000 crore for Short Term RRB Refinance Fund.

The Finance Minister said that “Farm credit underpins the efforts of our hard-working farmers, therefore an ambitious target of Rs. 8.5 lakh crore of credit during the year 2015-16 is set up", which the Minister was sure that the banks would surpass.

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna

The Finance Minister, presenting the Union Budget 2015-16, said that “Our commitment to farmers runs deep. We have already taken major steps to address the two major factors critical to agricultural production: soil and water”. In order to improve soil health, the Finance Minister proposed to support Agriculture Ministry’s organic farming scheme – “Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana”.

Allocations for Social Sectors

The Finance Minister allocated an amount of Rs. 68,968 crore to the Education Sector including Mid Day Meals, Rs. 33,152 crore to the Health Sector and Rs. 79,526 crore for Rural Development Activities including MGNREGA in the Budget for 2015-16. The Finance Minister proposed an initial allocation of Rs. 34,699 crore for the MGNREGA programme in the Budget.

An amount of Rs. 22,407 crore has been provided for Housing and Urban Development, Rs. 10,351 crore for Women and Child Development and Rs. 4,173 crore for Water Resources and Namami Gange.


If the Ministry of Finance is able to garner some additional resources during the year from tax buoyancy, then the Finance Minister promised to increase allocations to MGNREGA by Rs. 5,000 crore; Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) by Rs. 1,500 crore; Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) by Rs. 500 crore; and the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana by Rs. 3,000 crore; and the initial inflow of Rs. 5,000 crore into the NIIF. 

In order to support programmes for Women Security, Advocacy and Awareness, another Rs. 1000 crore has been allocated to the Nirbhaya Fund in the year 2015-16.

The Budget Speech informed that the National Optical Fibre Network Programme of 7.5 lakh Kilometre, networking 2.5 lakh villages, is being speeded up as a part of progress towards making digital India.

Universal Social Security System for the poor and under-privileged

The Finance Minister informed that the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana will be launched to cover accidental death risk of Rs. 2 lakh for a premium of just Rs. 12 per year. Similarly, he also informed that the Atal Pension Yojana will be launched, which will provide a defined pension, depending on the contribution, and its period. To encourage people to join this scheme, the Government will contribute 50% of the beneficiaries’ premium limited to Rs. 1,000 each year, for five years, in the new accounts opened before 31st December, 2015.

The Finance Minister also informed about the third Social Security Scheme "Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana" which covers both natural and accidental death risk of Rs. 2 lakhs. The premium will be Rs. 330 per year, or less than one rupee per day, for the age group 18-50.

The Finance Minister said that there are unclaimed deposits of about Rs. 3,000 crore in the PPF, and approximately Rs. 6,000 crore in the EPF corpus. The Finance Minister proposed the creation of a Senior Citizen Welfare Fund, in the Finance Bill, for appropriation of these amounts to a corpus which will be used to subsidize the premiums of vulnerable groups such as old age pensioners, BPL card-holders, small and marginal farmers and others. He informed that a detailed scheme would be issued in March.

The Finance Minister proposed a new scheme for providing Physical Aids and Assisted Living Devices for senior citizens, living below the poverty line.

The Finance Minister informed that Rs. 30,851 crore has been allocated for SC, Rs. 19,980 crore for ST and Rs. 79,258 crore for Women.   

The Finance Minister announced an integrated education and livelihood scheme called ‘Nai Manzil’ to be launched this year to enable Minority Youth who do not have a formal school-leaving certificate to obtain one and find better employment. Further, to showcase civilization and culture of the Parsis, the Government will support, in 2015-16, an exhibition, ‘The Everlasting Flame’.

Skills & Training

The Finance Minister emphasized on formal skill training and informed that the Government will launch a National Skills Mission which will consolidate skill initiatives spread across several Ministries. He said Rs. 1,500 crore has been set apart for Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gramin Kaushal Yojana. He proposed to set up a fully IT based Student Financial Aid Authority to administer and monitor Scholarship as well Educational Loan Schemes, through the Pradhan Mantri Vidya Lakshmi Karyakram.

Budgetary support

The Finance Minister while giving the budget estimates for 2015-16 said Non-Plan expenditure estimates for the Financial Year are Rs. 13,12,220 crore. Plan expenditure is estimated to be Rs. 4,65,277 crore, which is very near to the Revised Estimate (RE) of 2014-15. Total Expenditure has accordingly been estimated at Rs. 17,77,477 crore. Gross Tax receipts are estimated to be Rs. 14,49,490 crore. Devolution to the States is estimated to be Rs. 5,23,958 crore. Share of Central Government will be Rs. 9,19,842 crore. Non Tax Revenues for the next fiscal are estimated to be Rs. 2,21,733 crore. He said with the above estimates, fiscal deficit will be 3.9 percent of GDP and Revenue Deficit will be 2.8 percent of GDP in 2015-16.

Concessions for the middle-class

A. Increase in the limit of deduction in respect of health insurance premium from Rs.15,000 to Rs.25,000.

(1)   For senior citizens the limit will stand increased to Rs.30,000 from the existing Rs.20,000.

(2)   For very senior citizens of the age of 80 years or more, who are not covered by health insurance, deduction of Rs.30,000 towards expenditure incurred on the treatment will allowed.

B. The deduction limit of Rs.60,000 towards expenditure on account of specified diseases of serious nature is proposed to be enhanced to Rs.80,000 in case of very senior citizens.

C. Additional deduction of Rs.25,000 will be allowed for differently abled persons under Section 80DD and Section 80U of the Income-tax Act.

D. The limit on deduction on account of contribution to a Pension Fund and the New Pension Scheme is proposed to be increased from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 1.5 lakh.

E. To provide social safety net and the facility of pension to individuals and additional deduction of Rs.50,000 is proposed to be provided for contribution to the New Pension Scheme under Section 80 CCD.   This will enable India to become a pensioned society instead of a pensionless society.

F. Investments in Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme is already eligible for deduction under Section 80C.  All payments to the beneficiaries including interest payment on deposit will also be fully exempt.

G. Transport allowance exemption is being increased from Rs. 800 to Rs. 1,600 per month.

H. For the benefit of senior citizens, service tax exemption will be provided on Varishta Bima Yojana.

The list of Schemes (A) to be fully supported by Union Government (B) to be run with the Changed Sharing Pattern (C) to be delinked from support of the Centre is given below:-

(A) Schemes to be fully supported by Union Government:

1. Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA)

2. Multi-Sectoral Development Programme for Minorities (MSDP)

3. Pre-Matric scholarship for children of those engaged in unclean occupation

4. Scholarship Schemes (Post and Pre-Matric) for SC, ST and OBCs

5. Support for machinery for Implementation of Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 and Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989

6. National Programme for Persons with Disabilities

7. Scheme for providing Education to Minorities

8. Umbrella Scheme for education of ST children

9. Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY)

10. Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS)

11. Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG)-SABLA

12. National Nutrition Mission

13. Scheme for Protection and Development of Women

14. Assistance for Schemes under Proviso (i) to article 275 (1) of the Constitution

15. Special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub-plan

16. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (Financed from Education Cess)

17. Mid Day Meal

18. Schemes of North Eastern Council

19. Special package for Bodoland Territorial Council

20. National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) including Annapurna

21. Grants from Central Pool of Resources for North Eastern Region and Sikkim

22. Social Security for Unorganized Workers Scheme

23. Support to Educational Development including Teacher Training and Adult Education

24. Border Area Development Programme

25. Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS)

26. Cess backed allocation for Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadhak Yojana (PMGSY)

27. Roads and Bridges financed from Central Road Fund

28. Project Tiger

29. Project Elephant

30. Additional Central Assistance for Externally Aided Projects (loan portion)

31. Additional Central Assistance for Externally Aided Projects (Grant portion)

(B) Schemes to be run with the Changed Sharing Pattern:

1. Cattle Development

2. Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture

3. Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana

4. National Livestock Mission

5. National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture

6. Dairy Vikas Abhiyaan

7. Veterinary Services and Animal Health

8. National Rural Drinking Water Programme

9. Swaccha Bharat Abhiyaan (Rural and Urban)

10. National Afforestation Programme

11. National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Eco-system (NPCA)

12. National AIDS and STD Control programme

13. National health Mission

14. National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM)

15. Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyaan (RMSA)

16. Strategic Assistance for State Higher Education - Rashtriya Uchcha Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA)

17. For Development of Infrastructure Facilities for Judiciary

18. National Land Records Modernisation Programme

19. National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM)

20. Rural Housing-Housing for All

21. Integrated Child Development Service

22. Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan (RGKA) (erstwhile Panchayat Yuva Krida aur Khel Abhiyan (PYKKA)

23. PMKSY (including Watershed programme and micro irrigation)

24. Impact Assessment Studies of AIBFMP

(C) Schemes delinked from support of the Centre:

1. National e-Governance Plan

2. Backward Regions Grant Funds

3. Modernization of Police Forces

4. Rajiv Gandhi Panchayat Sashaktikaran Abhiyaan (RGPSA)

5. Scheme for Central Assistance to the States for developing export infrastructure

6. Scheme for setting up of 6000 Model Schools

7. National Mission on Food processing

8. Tourist Infrastructure


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