The Union Budget (General) 2015-16 the Beginning of Co-Operative Federalism and Empowerment of the States.

 Several New Schemes Announced
 National Investment And Infrastructure Fund Proposed
 Tax Free Infrastructure Bonds For Projects In Rail, Road And Irrigation Sectors
 5 New Ultra Mega Power Projects To Be Set Up
 New Institutions Including AIIMS, IIT And IIM To Be Set Up
 Total Expenditure Estimated To Be Rs. 17,77,477 Crore, Fiscal Deficit To Be 3.9% Of GDP
 Exemption To Individual Tax Payers To Continue To Facilitate Savings

New Delhi, February 28, 2015: Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley has said that the Indian Economy has turned around dramatically in the last nine months with the real GDP growth expected to accelerate to 7.4% making India the fastest growing large economy in the world.

Presenting the General Budget for the year 2015-16 in Lok Sabha today, he said macro-economic stability has been restored and conditions have been created for sustainable poverty elimination, job creation and durable double digit economic growth. Shri Jaitley specifically talked about three key achievements of the Government, the Jan Dhan Yojana which brought over 12.5 crores families into financial mainstream in a short period of 100 days, transparent coal block auctions to augment resources of the states and ‘Swachh Bharat’ which has become a movement to regenerate India.

Shri Jaitley said that India has now embarked on two more game changing reforms which are GST and the JAM Trinity-Jan Dhan, Aadhar and Mobile-to implement direct transfer of benefits. He added that GST will put in place a state-of-the art indirect tax system by 1st April 2016 while the JAM Trinity will allow transfer benefits in a leakage-proof, well-targetted and cashless manner.

Describing the declining inflation as one of the major achievements of the Government, the Finance Minister said that this represents a structural shift. He said CPI inflation is expected to remain at close to 5% by the end of the year which will allow further easing of monetary policy. Shri Jaitley said a Monetary Policy Framework Agreement has been concluded with the RBI to keep inflation below 6%.

Stating that while based on the new series, estimated GDP growth for 2014-15 is 7.4%, Shri Jaitley said growth in the next financial year is expected to be between 8 to 8.5% and aiming for a double-digit rate seems feasible very soon. The Minister underlined that India has to think in terms of a quantum jump. He said the year 2022 will be the Amrut Mahotsav, the 75th year, of India’s independence. He added the vision of what the Prime Minister has called ‘Team India’ led by the States and guided by the Central Government should include a roof for each family which will require to complete two crore houses in urban areas and four crore houses in rural areas with each house having 24 hour power supply, clean drinking water, a toilet and road connectivity.

He said the vision includes that at least one member from each family should have access to the means of livelihood, substantial reduction in poverty, electrification of the remaining 20,000 villages including off-grid solar power by 2020, connecting each of the 1,78,000 un-connected habitation, providing medical services in each village and city, ensuring a Senior Secondary School within 5 km reach of every child, strengthening rural economy-increase irrigated area, ensuring communication connectivity to all villages, to make India, the manufacturing hub of the world through Skill India and the Make in India Programmes, encourage and grow the spirit of entrepreneurship and development of Eastern and North Eastern regions on par with the rest of the country.

The Finance Minister counted five major challenges faced by the Indian economy which are agricultural income under stress, weak private sector investment in infrastructure, decline in manufacturing, resource crunch in view of higher devolution in taxes to states and maintaining fiscal discipline. Shri Jaitley assured that the country will meet the challenging fiscal deficit target of 4.1% of GDP, that the Government had inherited. Talking about the fiscal roadmap Shri Jaitley said that the Government is firm to achieve fiscal target of 3% of GDP. He added that the journey for fiscal deficit target of 3% will be achieved in three years rather than two years.

Stating that the Government is committed in its resolve, as Indians, to regain its pre-eminence as a just and compassionate country, Shri Jaitley said that what is needed is a well targetted system of subsidy delivery. He emphasized on need to cut subsidy leakages, to achieve which the Government is committed to the process of rationalizing subsidies. He said the direct transfer of benefits, started mostly in scholarship schemes, will be further expanded with a view to increasing the number of beneficiaries from the present 1 crore to 10.3 crore.

Download Speech of Finance Minister for the Union Budget (General) 2015-16.