Union FM Jaitley presented Budget-2018 in Parliament

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By Our National Affairs Bureau

NEW DELHI: Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley has announced in his Budget speech a string of populist giveaways, from affordable housing to a health plan for millions of the poor. Here are the live updates:

Finance minister Arun Jaitley announced on Thursday big spending for rural areas and projected economic growth above 8% in the Union Budget that won broad approval from economists.

Jaitley also announced plans to introduce “the world’s largest government funded health care programme”, saying it would cover some 500 million of the country’s poorest people. He went on to lay out plans to merge three public sector insurance companies and list the new entity.

Jaitley, who unveiled his last full Budget on Thursday, said India is poised to become $5 trillion economy soon from its current size of $2.5 trillion. The seventh fastest growing economy, India is all set to be the 5th fastest, soon, promised Jaitley. (Catch LIVE updates here)

Agriculture and health dominated Jaitley’s two-hour Budget speech. Employment and education were also focus areas. MSMEs found special mention in the Budget, with measures ranging from tax sops to easier access to loan.actives

Finance minister Arun Jaitley has announced in his Budget speech a string of populist giveaways, from affordable housing to a health plan for millions of the poor. Here are the live updates:

Finance minister Arun Jaitley announced on Thursday big spending for rural areas and projected economic growth above 8% in the Union Budget that won broad approval from economists.

Jaitley also announced plans to introduce “the world’s largest government funded health care programme”, saying it would cover some 500 million of the country’s poorest people. He went on to lay out plans to merge three public sector insurance companies and list the new entity.

“This budget is farmer friendly, common citizen friendly, business environment friendly and development friendly. It will add to ease of living,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said after the Budget speech.

Jaitley said the spending in rural areas aimed at creating jobs and entrepreneurs, in addition to laying hundreds of thousands of miles of rural roads, building new houses, toilets, and providing electricity.

The NITI Aayog will devise a mechanism to increase the Minimum Support Price for crops to 1.5 times of production cost, as promised in new Budget; to be done in consultation with the states: Finance ministry.

*Budget guided by mission to strengthen agriculture, rural development, health, education, employment, MSME and infrastructure sectors.

*Government says a series of structural reforms will propel India among the fastest growing economies of the world. Country firmly on course to achieve over 8% growth as manufacturing, services and exports back on good growth path.

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