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Insurance Article

Union Budget 2018: The Highlights

February 02 2018
Union Budget 2018

Insurance Budget 2018 was announced by Finance Minister on February 1,2018. Here are some of the important highlights

Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, presented the current government’s last budget before the general elections scheduled for next year. The budget was announced on February 1, 2018 amidst much fanfare and burden of the populace’s high expectations. It was expected to be a populist budget that will bring about benefits for the burgeoning middle class, with a view to build positive sentiment for the upcoming elections.

Instead, Budget 2018 was a socialist budget that laid special focus on development with key focus on areas such as agriculture, infrastructure, healthcare, insurance and housing. While the tax rates remain unchanged for the salaried class, there was a new addition to the tax system with the reintroduction of Long Term Capital Gains Tax. Also known as LTCG, this move will tax long-term gains exceeding ₹1 lakh at 10% coming from stocks and equity mutual funds.

We will detail some major changes that Union Budget 2018 has brought to the following sectors.

Infrastructure

Infrastructure has been a focus area for the government for quite some time now. This year’s budget proved that point further, as the infrastructure sector had the second highest allocation of the total budget with ₹5.97 lakh crore for the financial year 2019. Out of this, ₹5.35 lakh crore is for the Bharatmala project, which aims to develop 35,000 km under the first phase.

Real Estate

The NDA government is dedicated towards the cause of affordable housing for all. In line with this intention, the Finance Minister announced the setting up of the Affordable Housing Fund (AHF) that will function under National Housing Bank (NHB). The budget also allocated ₹11,000 crore for the Mumbai suburban rail network. This is expected to have a positive impact on the industry in Mumbai, as better connectivity has historically been favourable for real estate.

Insurance

India is the second most populated country on the planet with nearly 20% of its total population above 60 years of age. For these senior citizens, the government has raised the benefit of tax deduction to ₹50,000 for any medical insurance. For critical illnesses, however, the limit has increased further to ₹1,00,000.

Apart from this, Arun Jaitley also announced the rollout of the world’s largest government funded healthcare programme: the National Health Protection Scheme. Under this, more than 10 million poor families will be provided an annual insurance cover of ₹5 lakh each. This cover will be good for secondary and tertiary-care hospitalization.

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