Key Highlights from Budget 2018 : Legislative, Health & Welfare and Restrictions
Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday outlined a whole lot of measures to boost agricultural production, rural economy, healthcare, ease of doing business – announcing new projects as well as enhanced support for existing schemes to the tune of Rs 14.34 trillion in the Union Budget 2018.
Budget 2018 on Legislative Changes
- The budget proposes to amend the Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 to reduce
women employees’ contribution to 8% for first 3 years of their employment against existing rate of 12% or 10%
with no change in employers’ contribution. This is being done to incentivize employment of more women in the
formal sector and to enable higher take-home wages.
- As per the budget it has been proposed to make necessary amendments in the Indian Stamp Act 1899 after
consultation with the States, with a view to reform stamp duty regime on financial securities transactions.
The budget proposes to amend the National Housing Bank Act, 1987 to transfer its equity from the Reserve Bank
of India to the Government.
- The Budget proposes to amalgamate Indian Post Offices Act, Provident Fund Act and National Saving Certificate
Act and to introduce certain additional people friendly measures.
- It has been proposed that Reserve Bank of India Act be amended to institutionalize Uncollateralized Deposit
Facility. This measure will provide the Reserve Bank of India an instrument to manage excess liquidity.
- Securities and Exchange Board of India, Act 1992, Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act 1956, and Depositories
Act 1996, are being proposed to be amended to streamline adjudication procedures and to provide for penalties
for certain contraventions.
Budget 2018 Initiatives on Health and Welfare
- With an aim to make villages open defecation free the Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan (GOBAR-
DHAN) Scheme is proposed to be launched for management and conversion of cattle dung and solid waste in farms to compost, fertilizer, bio-gas and bio-CNG.
- Under the National Health Policy, 2017, the Health and Wellness Centers have been brought closer to the homes
of people. These centers would provide comprehensive health care, including for non-communicable diseases
and maternal and child health services. These centers will also provide free essential drugs and diagnostic
services. Private sector can also participate in this system through CSR.
- The Government will also launch a flagship National Health Protection Scheme to cover over 10 crore poor and
vulnerable families (i.e. Approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) providing coverage upto 5 lakh rupees per family
per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.
- Government will leverage the India Infrastructure Finance Corporation Limited (IIFCL) to help finance major
infrastructure projects, including investments in educational and health infrastructure, on strategic and larger
societal benefit considerations.
- Government has decided to keep MSP for the all unannounced crops of kharif at least at one and half times of
their production cost.
Budget 2018 on Restrictions
- Social welfare surcharge of 10% on imported goods.
- It has been proposed to introduce a dividend distribution tax on equity-oriented mutual funds at the rate of 10%
percent, to provide a level field across growth oriented and dividend distributing schemes. This will reduce the
investor’s in-hand return.