In his fourth budget, finance minister Arun Jaitley had a lot for rural India as well as the infrastructure sector. Ten big takeaways:
1. Two AIIMS proposed in Jharkhand and Gujarat. Additional 5,000 post-graduate seats to improve availability of doctors. Targets enhanced for infant and maternal mortality rates.
2. Action plan to eliminate kala azar and filariasis by 2017, leprosy by 2018, measles by 2020 and tuberculosis by 2025
3. Good quality institutions to have more autonomy and colleges to get autonomous status. For youth, a system of measuring annual learning to be put in place, with special focus on science. Steps to be taken to improve learning levels in schools in rural India
4. Allocation for rural, agricultural and allied sectors for 2017-18 is Rs 187223 crore, 24% higher than last year. A new micro-irrigation fund to achieve goal of “per drop more crop” with an initial corpus of Rs 5000 crore.
5. Allocation for scheduled castes increased from Rs 38,800 in 2016-17 to Rs 52,000 in 2017-18
6. Budget allocation to MGNREGA increased to a record Rs 48,000 crore for 2017-18, up from Rs 37,000 crore in 2016-17.
7. Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana allocation 2017-18 will be Rs 23,000 crore, up from Rs 15,000 crore in last budget. All villages to be electrified by May 1, 2018.
8. Transport sector allocated Rs 2.41 lakh crore and Bharat Net Project Rs 10,000 crore. Allocation for highways increased from Rs 57,676 crore in 2016-17 to Rs 64,000 crore in next fiscal.
9. Service charges on railway e-tickets will be withdrawn and all coaches fitted with bio-toilets. A new metro rail policy to be announced, will create jobs for youth
10. Rail safety fund with corpus of Rs 100,000 crore will be created over a period of five years. Four focus areas for railways: Passenger safety, capital and development work, cleanliness and financial and accounting norms.
Courtesy: Hindustan Times