Live update: Union Budget 2018

Finance minister, Arun Jaitley begins the first post-GST budget at 11 am after approval from the cabinet. This could be the last full budget of the current BJP government, in view of general elections coming up in 2019. Read for live updates on the budget.

Apurva Venkat Feb 01st 2018

Finance minister, Arun Jaitley, begins the budget speech after approval of the cabinet. 

11 am: Budget session starts 

"Four years ago we pledged to the people of the nation an honest government. When we took over, the nation was part of the 'Fragile 5'. We have changed this and PM Narendra Modi has successfully implemented a structural reform".

11.08 am: India has achieved an average of 7.4 percent GDP growth in the first 3 years of our government. 

Indian economy is now 2.5 trillion dollar economy in the world and expected to become the fifth largest economy very soon. IMF has projected India will grow at 7.4% next year. We are set to achieve high growth.

11.13: FM starts to focus on agriculture sector. 

11.13: Government’s focus on farmers getting a fair price.  Agriculture and rural economy. Government is committed to welfare of farmers. Agri market and infra fund of Rs 2000 crore fund will be set up to strengthen the market connectivity. The Agriculture Ministry will reorient its schemes, and focus on promoting cluster-based approach to be adopted for agricultural production. He adds that the government is allocating Rs 200 crore for cultivation and associated industry.Government allocates Rs 500 crore for ‘Operation green,’ which will promote processing facilities, professional management among other things. The government will set up state of the art facilities in 42 mega food parks, says Jaitley. Government will allocate Rs 1,290 crore for a National Bamboo Mission, to promote the bamboo sector in a holistic manner.  Rs 10,000 crore fund set up a for Fishery and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development and Animal Husbandry Infrastructure.

 For Delhi’s pollution issue: The government will aid the state governments of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab to curb air pollution and  will also subsidise removal of crop residue to tackle the problem of pollution due to crop burning in these states.

11:34 am: Health and education sector.  The government launches flagship programme National Health Protection Scheme that will cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable families that is 50 crore beneficiaries will be provided upto Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary hospital care. 

11.48 am : MSME and job creation. FM says that the introduction of GST and demonetisation has created a large database on MSME’s. MSMEs sector gets Rs 3,794 crore in the form of capital support and interest subsidy. Govt to contribute 12% to EPF for new employees in all sectors for three years. To promote women employment, in the first three years of their career, women will have to pay only 8 percent as EPF contribution, reduced from 12 percent. 

11: 55 am:  Infrastructure. 10 tourist destinations to be developed to attract more people to the country. Amenities will be enhanced under the AMRUT cities programme and Smart cities programme. Mumbai local allocated Rs 11,000 crore to add tracks and Rs 17,000 for Bengaluru Metro Network.

Government aims to multiply the number of airports by five times so as to handle one billion trips a year. The Airports Authority of India currently has 124 airports. The UDAN scheme launched in 2017 will connect 56 unserved airports and 37 unserved helipads