In picture: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented a pro-farmer budget Monday, Feb. 29, 2016. A farmer takes stock of the damage caused to his cropsIANS

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented a pro-farmer budget Monday, doubling the allocation for farmers' welfare, agriculture and irrigation from last year. Jaitley kept tax slabs unchanged, except for some relief for those with an annual income of less than Rs 5 lakh. 

Jaitley said the Modi governement's agenda for 2016-17 was to undertake transformative measures based on nine pillars -- agriculture and farmer welfare, rural sector, social sector, education skills and job creation, infrastructure investment, financial sector reforms, governance reforms and ease of doing business, fiscal discipline, and tax reforms to reduce compliance burden. 

Income tax: The Finance Ministry kept income tax slabs unchanged. However, Jaitley raised the deduction limit for those with a total income of less than Rs. 5 lakh per annum from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 5,000 per annum. Under Section 87A, taxpayers first reduce Rs. 2,000 from their total tax payable. 

Farmer-friendly measures: Jaitley announced an allocation of Rs 47, 912 crore for agriculture and irrigation, nearly double the allocation of Rs 25,998 crore made last year. The government announced a total allocation for farmers welfare of Rs. 35,984 crore. Five lakh acres to be brought under organic farming over a three-year period. 

Jaitley said farmers' income will be doubled by 2022 and 28.5 lakh hectares will be brought under irrigation under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana.

In another benefit for farmers, the government announced a 100 percent FDI through the FIPB route for marketing of food products, produced and manufactured in India.

Infrastructure: Jaitley announced a total investment Rs. 2,18,000 crore on capital expenditure of roads and railways in 2016-17, of which Rs, 55,000 crore will be allocated for roads and highways, 15,000 crore for NHAI Bonds and and 1,21,000 crore for Railways. 

Rural development : The Modi government has assured it will electrify all villages in the country by 2018.  Rs. 87,765 crore for rural development as a whole have been allocated in Budget 2016-17. Jaitley also announced a Digital Literacy Mission scheme for rural India that will cover 6 crore households in the next three years.


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