Article 112 of the Constitution of India, that deals with the presentation of the Union Budget of India, has referred it as the “annual financial statement”. The budget is presented in the form of a financial bill and the appropriation bill. Before coming into the effect from April 1 the budget has to be passed by the House.
Every year April 1 marks the beginning of the India’s financial year. The purpose of the presentation of the Union Budget every year is to reveal the government’s future expenditure which is intended to consolidate the Indian economy and through proposed taxes to bring stability to it.
While presenting the Union Budget 2016-17, opening his speech the Finance Minister announced that the Government would provide health insurance up to Rs. 1 lakh per family, a top up of Rs. 35000 for persons above 60 years has also been announced. The Finance Minister further disclosed that 3000 stores would be opened for generic drugs.
Unveiling pro-poor measures and relief for small taxpayers the finance minister Arun Jaitley announced that total Rs. 38,500 crore are allocated for MNREGA which if implemented successfully, according to him, would be highest ever annual spending on the scheme.
For the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, informed the minister, a sum of Rs. 9000 crore has been allocated. He further made the announcement of granting Rs. 2.87 trillion to gram panchayats and municipalities indicating a quantum jump of 228%.
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The Finance Minister further disclosed that the government is going to launch a program to provide LPG connections to BPL households; to meet the initial coast of providing to LPG connections in the name of women of poor households a sum of Rs. 2,000 crore has been allocated.
For Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojna in 2016-17 a sum Rs. 19000 crore has been allocated which, in all, will come to Rs. 27,000 crore after state contribution.
Reiterating the Government’s commitment achieving 100% electrification of the village by May 2018 the finance minister informed the house that 5,542 out of 18,542 unelectrified villages had been electrified.
The finance minister has announced that the target of agriculture credit card is increased to an all-time high of Rs. 9 trillion. The minister further disclosed that the Government would set apart Rs. 412 crore to encourage organic farming. Five lakh acres of land would brought under organic farming within the ambit of Krishi Vikash Yojna in the next three years.
The minister further announced that the under Nabard a dedicated irrigation fund of Rs. 20,000 would be established, 28.5 lakh hectares would be brought under the irrigation under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sichai Yojna.
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The Finance Minister announced an allocation of Rs. 15,000 crore NHAI bonds.
For nuclear power generation Rs. 3,000 crore has been earmarked.
The Government through its stand up India scheme has allocated Rs. 5000 crore for SC, ST and Women entrepreneurs.
The Finance Minister has announced a hike in existing income tax slab Rs. 1,000 crore has been allocated for a new Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) scheme. Additional exemption of 50,000 for housing loans up to Rs. 35 lakh, provided the cost of the house is not above Rs. 50 lakh. Deduction for rent paid would be increased from Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 60,000 to benefit those living in rented house. 15 % surcharge has been announced on income above Rs. 1 crore.
Some Important Facts to Know About Union Budgets of India
The origin of the word budget is a French word ‘bowgette’, meaning a ‘leather bag’. Since the time of independence India has got 25 finance ministers.
It was on April 7,1860 James Wilson, a Scottish economist, and politician, presented the first Indian budget as a finance minister of the Council of India. He died, rather, unfortunately, of dysentery in Calcutta on 11 August 1860.
Morarji Desai holds the record of presenting the maximum number of budgets. He presented the budget for a record 10 times as a former finance minister of India. He presented the budget, in his first stint as the Finance Minister, every year from 1959 to 1963. In his second spree, he presented three budgets from 1967 to 1969. In- between he presented the interim budgets for 1962-63 and 1967-68.
When Morarji Desai resigned Indira Gandhi,the then Prime Minister, took the charge of the ministry of Finance and presented the budget of 1970- 71. Till date, she holds the record of being the lone woman finance minister of India.
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Rajiv Gandhi, by presenting the Union budget for 1987-88, became only the third Prime Minister, after mother and grandfather, to present a budget.
Jawaharlal Nehru holds the record of being the first Prime Minister to present the Union Budget. He presented it in the financial year 1958-59.
Although every budget is important, the budget presented in 1991 by the then finance minister Dr. Manmohan Singh holds a unique place because in this budget India’s economy was liberalised. The Union Budget 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of that budget.
In 2001 the then finance minister, Mr. Yashwant Sinha, changed the practice of presenting the budget at 5 pm on the last day working day of February by presenting the 2001 Union Budget at 11 am.
The ministry of finance holds, before every budget when the budget goes for printing, a ceremony that is known as “the Halwa Ceremony” in which a traditional desert, ‘Halwa’ is prepared and distributed and after this ceremony the printing of the budget begins.
Arun Jaitley holds the record of delivering the longest budget speech delivered by a finance minister that included two and half hours with a break of five minutes.