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The turn of the year and it is time for the ministry to plan out for the annual budget. The union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram put forward his 5th budget in the Parliament that comprises of the following highlights :
- The Income Tax threshold which earlier was Rs. 1, 10, 000 has been raised to Rs. 1,50,000.
- Besides, new tax slabs have been introduced and the tax limit has been increased for women and senior women citizens.
- The bar has been raised to 1.80 lakh and 2.25 lakh respectively.
- Tax holidays for setting up of hospitals and promoting cultural tourism have been introduced.
- It has been proposed that direct tax proposals should be revenue neutral.
- The target for plan expenditure has been set at Rs. 2, 43,000 crore and that of non plan at Rs. 5, 74, 000.
- Excise duties have been reduced on pharmaceutical goods, cars, water purification system, etc.
- At the same time, customs duty on life saving drugs, which was 10% earlier, has become 5 % now.
- Asset management service provided by mutual funds and stock exchange services will be subject to Services Tax net.
- An amount of Rs. 624 crore has been allocated for the 2010 Commonwealth games.
- A number of schemes have been introduced for the benefit of the farmers such as settlement of loans for a single time for farmers, implementation of debt relief and debt waiver. Moreover, Indebtedness will be addressed by covering the agricultural loans under the Waiver scheme. The Agriculture Ministry will be funded with Rs. 75 crore to set up laboratories of mobile soil testing across the country. NREGA scheme will be introduced in 596 Indian rural districts.
- The fund for rural infrastructural development has been raised to almost Rs. 14,000 crore.
- Foreign investment amounting to as much as 8 billion dollars has been allocated for exploration as well as development of oil blocks.
- The Ministry of Women and Child Development has been assigned a sum of Rs. 7200 crore.
- Various funds have been allocated for the purification of drinking water.
- Developmental programmes such as that of border areas have been duly assisted financially. The funds for the development of the North-East region has been raised to Rs.16,400 crore.
- Financial support has been lent to SC and ST candidates and students pursuing M. Phil.
- Minorities’ development has been given a keen eye owing to which the allocation of funds for the Ministry of Minority Affairs have been increased to Rs. 1000 crore.
- Besides, ample of funds have been allocated for the smooth operation of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Mid Day Meal scheme and others. More institutions for higher education, technical education, etc. have been proposed to be set up.
- The bar of funds allocated to the Bharat Nirman has been raised to Rs. 31, 280 crore.
The mantra behind introducing all these plans is keeping inflation under complete check.