Union Budget 2017: Read Minance Minister Full Speech here

Union Budget 2017

II. RURAL POPULATION
32. I now turn to the Rural Sector, which was so dear to the heart of Mahatma Gandhi.

33. Over ` 3 lakh crores are spent in rural areas every year, if we add up all the programmes meant for rural poor from the Central Budget, State Budgets, Bank linkage for self-help groups, etc. With a clear focus on improving accountability, outcomes and convergence, we will undertake a Mission Antyodaya to bring one crore households out of poverty and to make 50,000 gram panchayats poverty free by 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhiji. We will utilise the existing resources more effectively along with annual increases. This mission will work with a focused micro plan for sustainable livelihood for every deprived household. A composite index for poverty free gram panchayats would be developed to monitor the progress from the baseline.

34. Our Government has made a conscious effort to reorient MGNREGA to support our resolve to double farmers’ income. While providing at least 100 days employment to every rural household, MGNREGA should create productive assets to improve farm productivity and incomes. The target of 5 lakh farm ponds and 10 lakh compost pits announced in the last Budget from MGNREGA funds will be fully achieved. In fact, against 5 lakh farm ponds, it is expected that about 10 lakh farm ponds would be completed by March 2017. During 2017-18, another 5 lakh farm ponds will be taken up. This single measure will contribute greatly to drought proofing of gram panchayats.

35. Participation of women in MGNREGA has increased to 55% from less than 48% in the past.36. Honourable Members would be happy to note that the budget provision of `38,500 crores under MGNREGA in 2016-17 has been increased to `48,000 crores in 2017-18. This is the highest ever allocation for MGNREGA. The initiative to geo-tag all MGNREGA assets and putting them in public domain has established greater transparency. We are also using space technology in a big way to plan MGNREGA works.

37. The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) is now being implemented as never before. The pace of construction of PMGSY roads has accelerated to reach 133 km roads per day in 2016-17, as against an average of 73 km during the period 2011-2014. We have also taken up the task of connecting habitations with more than 100 persons in left wing extremism affected Blocks. We have committed to complete the current target under PMGSY by 2019. I have provided a sum of ` 19,000 crores in 2017-18 for this scheme. Together with the contribution of States, an amount of ` 27,000 crores will be spent on PMGSY in 2017-18.

38. We propose to complete 1 crore houses by 2019 for the houseless and those living in kutcha houses. I have stepped up the allocation for Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana – Gramin from ` 15,000 crores in BE 2016-17 to ` 23,000 crores in 2017-18.

39. We are well on our way to achieving 100% village electrification by 1st May 2018. An increased allocation of ` 4,814 crores has been proposed under the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana in 2017-18.

40. I have also proposed to increase the allocations for Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana- National Rural Livelihood Mission for promotion of skill development and livelihood opportunities for people in rural areas to `4,500 in 2017-18. The allocation for Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) and credit support schemes has been increased more than 3 times.

41. Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) has made tremendous progress in promoting safe sanitation and ending open defecation. Sanitation coverage in rural India has gone up from 42% in October 2014 to about 60%. Open Defecation Free villages are now being given priority for piped water supply.

42. We propose to provide safe drinking water to over 28,000 arsenic and fluoride affected habitations in the next four years. This will be a sub mission of the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP).

43. For imparting new skills to the people in the rural areas, mason training will be provided to 5 lakh persons by 2022, with an immediate target of training at least 20,000 persons by 2017-18.

44. Panchayati raj institutions still lack human resources for implementing development programmes. A programme of “human resource reforms for results” will be launched during 2017-18 for this purpose.

45. The Government will continue to work closely with the farmers and the people in the rural areas to improve their life and environment. This is a non-negotiable agenda for our Government. The total allocation for the rural, agriculture and allied sectors in 2017-18 is ` 1,87,223 crores, which is 24% higher than the previous year.

III. YOUTH

46. Let me now focus on my proposals for the youth.

47. Quality education will energise our youth. In the words of Swami Vivekananda, “The education which does not help the common mass of people to equip themselves for the struggle for life ………… is it worth the name?”48. We have proposed to introduce a system of measuring annual learning outcomes in our schools. Emphasis will be given on science education and flexibility in curriculum to promote creativity through local innovative content. 49. An Innovation Fund for Secondary Education will be created to encourage local innovation for ensuring universal access, gender parity and quality improvement. This will include ICT enabled learning transformation. The focus will be on 3479 educationally backward blocks.50. In higher education, we will undertake reforms in the UGC. Good quality institutions would be enabled to have greater administrative and academic autonomy. Colleges will be identified based on accreditation and ranking, and given autonomous status. A revised framework will be put in place for outcome based accreditation and credit based programmes.

51. We propose to leverage information technology and launch SWAYAM platform with at least 350 online courses. This would enable students to virtually attend the courses taught by the best faculty; access high quality reading resources; participate in discussion forums; take tests and earn academic grades. Access to SWAYAM would be widened by linkage with DTH channels, dedicated to education.

52. We propose to establish a National Testing Agency as an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organisation to conduct all entrance examinations for higher education institutions. This would free CBSE, AICTE and other premier institutions from these administrative responsibilities so that they can focus more on academics.

53. We have a huge demographic advantage. Skill India mission was launched in July 2015 to maximise the potential of our youth.

54. Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKK) have already been promoted in more than 60 districts. We now propose to extend these Kendras to more than 600 districts across the country. 100 India International Skills Centres will be established across the country. These Centres would offer advanced training and also courses in foreign languages. This will help those of our youth who seek job opportunities outside the country.

55. In 2017-18, we also propose to launch the Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion programme (SANKALP) at a cost of ` 4,000 crores. SANKALP will provide market relevant training to 3.5 crore youth.

56. The next phase of Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE) will also be launched in 2017-18 at a cost of ` 2,200 crores. STRIVE will focus on improving the quality and market relevance of vocational training provided in ITIs and strengthen the apprenticeship programmes through industry cluster approach.

57. A special scheme for creating employment in the textile sector has already been launched. A similar scheme will be implemented for the leather and footwear industries.

58. Tourism is a big employment generator and has a multiplier impact on the economy. Five Special Tourism Zones, anchored on SPVs, will be set up in partnership with the States. Incredible India 2.0 Campaign will be launched across the world.

IV. THE POOR AND THE UNDERPRIVILEGED

59. Madam Speaker, I now turn to my proposals for the poor and the underprivileged.

60. Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas begins with the girl child and women. Mahila Shakti Kendra will be set up at village level with an allocation of` 500 crores in 14 lakh ICDS Anganwadi Centres. This will provide one stop convergent support services for empowering rural women with opportunities for skill development, employment, digital literacy, health and nutrition. A nationwide scheme for financial assistance to pregnant women has already been announced by Honourable Prime Minister on 31st December, 2016. Under this scheme, ` 6,000 each will be transferred directly to the bank accounts of pregnant women who undergo institutional delivery and vaccinate their children.

61. For the welfare of Women and Children under various schemes across all Ministries, I have stepped up the allocation from ` 1,56,528 crores in BE 2016-17 to ` 1,84,632 crores in 2017-18.

62. We propose to facilitate higher investment in affordable housing. Affordable housing will now be given infrastructure status, which will enable these projects to avail the associated benefits.

63. The National Housing Bank will refinance individual housing loans of about ` 20,000 crore in 2017-18. Thanks to the surplus liquidity created by demonetisation, the Banks have already started reducing their lending rates, including those for housing. In addition, interest subvention for housing loans has also been announced by the Honourable Prime Minister.64. Poverty is usually associated with poor health. It is the poor who suffer the maximum from various chronic diseases. Government has therefore prepared an action plan to eliminate Kala-Azar and Filariasis by 2017, Leprosy by 2018 and Measles by 2020. Elimination of tuberculosis by 2025 is also targeted. Similarly, action plan has been prepared to reduce IMR from 39 in 2014 to 28 by 2019 and MMR from 167 in 2011-13 to 100 by 2018-2020. 1.5 lakh Health Sub Centres will be transformed into Health and Wellness Centres.65. We need to ensure adequate availability of specialist doctors to strengthen Secondary and Tertiary levels of health care. We have therefore decided to take steps to create additional 5,000 Post Graduate seats per annum. In addition, steps will be taken to roll out DNB courses in big District Hospitals; strengthen PG teaching in select ESI and Municipal Corporation Hospitals; and encourage reputed Private Hospitals to start DNB courses. We will work with the State Governments to take these tasks forward. The Government is committed to take necessary steps for structural transformation of the Regulatory framework of Medical Education and Practice in India.

66. Two new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences will be set up in the States of Jharkhand and Gujarat.

67. We propose to amend the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules to ensure availability of drugs at reasonable prices and promote use of generic medicines. New rules for regulating medical devices will also be formulated. These rules will be internationally harmonised and attract investment into this sector. This will reduce the cost of such devices.

68. We are keen on fostering a conducive labour environment wherein labour rights are protected and harmonious labour relations lead to higher productivity. Legislative reforms will be undertaken to simplify, rationalise and amalgamate the existing labour laws into 4 Codes on (i) wages; (ii) industrial relations; (iii) social security and welfare; and (iv) safety and working conditions. The Model Shops and Establishment Bill 2016 has been circulated to all States for consideration and adoption. This would open up additional avenues for employment of women. The amendment made to the Payment of Wages Act, is another initiative of our Government for the benefit of the labour and ease of doing business.

69. Our Government is giving special importance to implementation of the schemes for welfare of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Minorities. The allocation for the welfare of Scheduled Castes has been stepped up from `38,833 crores in BE 2016-17 to ` 52,393 crores in2017-18, representing an increase of about 35%. The allocation for Scheduled Tribes has been increased to `31,920 crores and for Minority Affairs to `4,195 crores. The Government will introduce outcome based monitoring of expenditure in these sectors by the NITI Aayog.

70. For senior citizens, Aadhar based Smart Cards containing their health details will be introduced. A beginning will be made through a pilot in 15 districts during 2017-18. The LIC will implement a scheme for senior citizens to provide assured pension, with a guaranteed return of 8% per annum for 10 years.
V. INFRASTRUCTURE71. The fifth component of TEC India agenda is Infrastructure.

72. Railways, roads and rivers are the lifeline of our country. I feel privileged to present the first combined Budget of independent India that includes the Railways also. We are now in a position to synergise the investments in railways, roads, waterways and civil aviation. For 2017-18, the total capital and development expenditure of Railways has been pegged at ` 1,31,000 crores. This includes ` 55,000 crores provided by the Government.

73. Among other things, the Railways will focus on four major areas, namely :
(i) Passenger safety;
(ii) Capital and development works;
(iii) Cleanliness; and
(iv) Finance and accounting reforms.

74. For passenger safety, a Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh will be created with a corpus of ` 1 lakh crores over a period of 5 years. Besides seed capital from the Government, the Railways will arrange the balance resources from their own revenues and other sources. Government will lay down clear cut guidelines and timeline for implementing various safety works to be funded from this Kosh. Unmanned level crossings on Broad Gauge lines will be eliminated by 2020. Expert international assistance will be harnessed to improve safety preparedness and maintenance practices.75. In the next 3 years, the throughput is proposed to be enhanced by 10%. This will be done through modernisation and upgradation of identified corridors. Railway lines of 3,500 kms will be commissioned in 2017-18, as against 2,800 kms in 2016-17. Steps will be taken to launch dedicated trains for tourism and pilgrimage.

76. Railways have set up joint ventures with 9 State Governments. 70 projects have been identified for construction and development.

77. A beginning has been made with regard to station redevelopment. At least 25 stations are expected to be awarded during 2017-18 for station redevelopment. 500 stations will be made differently abled friendly by providing lifts and escalators. 78. It is proposed to feed about 7,000 stations with solar power in the medium term. A beginning has already been made in 300 stations. Works will be taken up for 2,000 railway stations as part of 1000 MW solar mission.

79. Our focus is on swachh rail. SMS based Clean My Coach Service has been started. It is now proposed to introduce ‘Coach Mitra’ facility, a single window interface, to register all coach related complaints and requirements. By 2019, all coaches of Indian Railways will be fitted with bio toilets. Pilot plants for environment friendly disposal of solid waste and conversion of biodegradable waste to energy are being set up at New Delhi and Jaipur railway stations. Five more such solid waste management plants are now being taken up.

80. Today Indian Railways face stiff competition from other modes of transportation which are dominated by the private sector. Transformative measures have to be undertaken to make Indian Railways competitive to retain their position of pre-eminence. The following steps will therefore be taken :
(i) Railways will implement end to end integrated transport solutions for select commodities through partnership with logistics players, who would provide both front and back end connectivity. Rolling stocks and practices will be customised to transport perishable goods, especially agricultural products.(ii) Railways will offer competitive ticket booking facility to the public at large. Service charge on e-tickets booked through IRCTC has been withdrawn. Cashless reservations have gone up from 58% to 68%. (iii) As part of accounting reforms, accrual based financial statements will be rolled out by March 2019. 81. It will be our continuous endeavour to improve the Operating Ratio of the Railways. The tariffs of Railways would be fixed, taking into consideration costs, quality of service, social obligations and competition from other forms of transport.82. Metro rail is emerging as an important mode of urban transportation. A new Metro Rail Policy will be announced with focus on innovative models of implementation and financing, as well as standardisation and indigenisation of hardware and software. This will open up new job opportunities for our youth. 83. A new Metro Rail Act will be enacted by rationalising the existing laws. This will facilitate greater private participation and investment in construction and operation.

84. In the road sector, I have stepped up the Budget allocation for highways from ` 57,976 crores in BE 2016-17 to ` 64,900 crores in 2017-18. 2,000 kms of coastal connectivity roads have been identified for construction and development. This will facilitate better connectivity with ports and remote villages. The total length of roads, including those under PMGSY, built from 2014-15 till the current year is about 1,40,000 kms which is significantly higher than previous three years.

85. An effective multi modal logistics and transport sector will make our economy more competitive. A specific programme for development of multi-modal logistics parks, together with multi modal transport facilities, will be drawn up and implemented.

86. Select airports in Tier 2 cities will be taken up for operation and maintenance in the PPP mode. Airport Authority of India Act will be amended to enable effective monetisation of land assets. The resources, so raised, will be utilised for airport upgradation.

87. For transportation sector as a whole, including rail, roads, shipping, I have provided ` 2,41,387 crores in 2017-18. This magnitude of investment will spur a huge amount of economic activity across the country and create more job opportunities.88. Telecom sector is an important component of our infrastructure eco system. The recent spectrum auctions have removed spectrum scarcity in the country. This will give a major fillip to mobile broadband and Digital India for the benefit of people living in rural and remote areas.

89. Under the BharatNet Project, OFC has been laid in 1,55,000 kms. I have stepped up the allocation for BharatNet Project to ` 10,000 crores in 2017-18. By the end of 2017-18, high speed broadband connectivity on optical fibre will be available in more than 1,50,000 gram panchayats, with wifi hot spots and access to digital services at low tariffs. A DigiGaon initiative will be launched to provide tele-medicine, education and skills through digital technology.

90. For strengthening our Energy sector, Government has decided to set up Strategic Crude Oil Reserves. In the first phase, 3 such Reserves facilities have been set up. Now in the second phase, it is proposed to set up caverns at 2 more locations, namely, Chandikhole in Odisha and Bikaner in Rajasthan. This will take our strategic reserve capacity to 15.33 MMT.

91. In solar energy, we now propose to take up the second phase of Solar Park development for additional 20,000 MW capacity.

92. We are also creating an eco-system to make India a global hub for electronics manufacturing. Over 250 investment proposals for electronics manufacturing have been received in the last 2 years, totalling an investment of ` 1.26 lakh crores. A number of global leaders and mobile manufacturers have set up production facilities in India. I have therefore exponentially increased the allocation for incentive schemes like M-SIPS and EDF to ` 745 crores in 2017-18. This is an all-time high.

93. We have to focus on our export infrastructure in a competitive world. A new and restructured Central scheme, namely, Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES) will be launched in 2017-18.

94. The total allocation for infrastructure development in 2017-18 stands at `3,96,135 crores.

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