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Surfers' comments
The threshold limits on tax need to be increased and tax rates should be spread across more slabs so as not to hurt the salaried class. - Jayaraman

The I-T exemption for men should be Rs 1.8 lakh. Rs 1.5 lakh is peanuts. - Naveen Kumar
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Expert comments
Gaurav Taneja,
Partner & National Tax Director says the Finance Minister has stressed on buoyancy in tax collections and on attaining a Tax—GDP ratio of 12.5%.
Motilal Oswal, Chairman and Managing Director of Motilal Oswal Financial Services says the Finance Minister was uniquely positioned to present a landmark Budget.
Srinivasa Rao, Partner & India International Tax Leader, Ernst & Young is of the opinion that Union Budget has lived up to the populist trend.
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Union Budget 2008-09  »  Union Budget
Union Budget Highlights 2008 - 09
New scheme of debt-waiver and debt relief for farmers
All agriculture loans disbursed by PSU banks, co-operatives till March 2007 waiting recovery to be covered under scheme
Complete waiver of loans for small and marginal farmers holding upto 2 hectares of land
One-time settlement scheme for “all other” farmers
Agricultural loans restructured by banks through special packages. All such loans will also be eligible for waiver under the scheme
Implementation of loan waiver scheme to be completed by June 30, 2008
Farmers will also be eligible for fresh loans
Govt to allocate 60,000 crore for this scheme
Four crore farmers expected to benefit
Cheaper: Small cars, motorcycles and scooters, dairy products, washing machine and ACs, set-top box, gems and jewellery, water purifiers, three and four star hotel tarrif, all pharma products, imported life-saving drugs
Dearer: Mobiles, non filter cigarettes, packaged softwares , stock and commodity exchange services
All agriculture loans disbursed by PSU banks, co-operatives till March 2007 waiting recovery to be covered under scheme
Threshold exemption limit increased from 1,10,000 to 1,50,000
Income Tax exemption limit for women hiked from Rs 1,45,000 to 1,80,000
Senior citizens' exemption limit hiked from Rs 1,95,000 to 2,25,000
New tax slabs — 1.5 lakh to 3 lakh: 10%; 3 lakh to 5 lakh: 20%: 5 lakh and above: 30%
No change in corporate tax; no change in surcharge
Duty on two wheelers reduced from 16 to 12 %
Excise duty slashed to 8% on water purification items
Duty withdrawn on naptha for production of polymers
Central Sales Tax up from 2% to 5%
Introduction of commodity transaction tax
Short-term capital gains tax hiked to 15%
Securities Transactions Tax unchanged
Banking Transaction Tax withdrawn
GDP increased by 8.8% during first 3 years of UPA govt
Growth to be 8.7% this fiscal
Manufacturing growth at 9.4%
Services growth at 10.7%
Agriculture growth pegged at 2.4%
Govt to monitor and moderate capital inflow to ensure stock market stability
Agriculture sector has grown by 2.4%
Agri credit doubled during UPA government’s tenure
Record food grain production at 290 mn tonnes
Record rice production at 98.04 million tonnes
Record maize production at 16.7 million tones
75-78% of total credit by PSU banks
Target for credit to farmers in 2008-09 is at Rs 280,000 crore
Additional irrigation potential to be developed for 5 lakh hectares
Rs 500 crore for rain-fed area development programme to be launched in new areas
World Bank aiding many states in agriculture
14 national agricultural projects approved
New financial institution IWRFC to be launched with an initial allocation of Rs 100 crore to mobilise funds for agriculture
500 soil testing labs to start via PPP
Rs 175 crore for mobile soil testing units in 200 districts by March 2009
Rs 20 crore to Tea Research Institute
National agricultural insurance scheme to continue for Kharif, Rabi crops
Fertiliser subsidy to continue
New nutrient based fertiliser subsidy regime to be launched
Prof Vaidyanathan Committee recommendations on micro-credit to be implemented
Power generation on target for 11th Plan
Allocation of Rs 5,000 crore for rural electrification
Rs 12,966 crore for highways
96.48% of Golden Quadrilateral completed
26.36% of East-West, North-South Corridor completed
Rs 380 crore for oil and gas exploration
New coal regulator to be appointed
Rs 1,680 crore for IT Ministry
One lakh broadband centres to be set up in rural areas
All 30 integrated textile parks have been approved
Clasuter Approach for handloom has been a success
Education outlay increased by 20% to Rs 34,400 crore
Mid-day meal scheme to be extended to all govt and govt-aided schools
410 new Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidayalaya to be set up
New model school programme to be started
New Navodaya Vidyalaya to be set up in 20 backward districts
1 lakh new scholarships to be granted
Nehru Yuva Kendras to be set up in all districts
Central Universities for all states; 16 central universities this year
Three new IITs in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan
Two Schools of Planning and Architecture in Bhopal and Vijaywada
Ministry of Science and Technology to start a new scholarship scheme
Rs 100 crore to build National Knowledge Network to connect all knowledge centres via broadband
Health outlay increased by 15% to Rs 16,543 crore
National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme to be extended to all districts
46,200 Asha workers have been trained
Anganwadi workers remuneration increased to Rs 1,500
More than 300 district hospitals to be upgraded
Rs 12,050 crore for National Rural Health Mission
Rs 900 crore for combating AIDS
Rashtrya Health Bima Yojna to be launched in Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan on April 1
Integrated Child Development Scheme allocation increased to Rs 6,000 crore
Two national institutes of ageing
New national programme for the elderly
Budget increased by 10% to to Rs 1,05,600 crore
Rate of attrition high in defence forces
Special fund of Rs 500 crore for Arunachal Pradesh
Rs 12,155 crore to Ministry for North East Development
Rs 200 crore for clean water to school children
Rs 1,000 crore for Ministry for Minorities
Rs 75 crore for Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship Programme
Rs 60 crore to enhance the corpus fund of Maulana Azad programme
Rs 11,460 crore for 100% women specific scheme
Rs 45.5 crore to modernise madrasas
Rs 288 crore for nationalised banks in minorities areas
Allocation of Rs 1,200 crore for sanitation programmes
More minority recruitments in central para-military forces
ICDS allocation hiked to Rs 6,300 cr
Rs 300 cr for desalination plant near Chennai
National Handicap Development Corp to get Rs 9 crore
LIC 'Janashree Yojana' for women self-helf groups
Target of Rs 2,80,000 for credit in agriculture
Rs 300 crore for rain affected areas
USD 730 million World Bank agreement for water storage development programme
Rs 500 crore for development of border areas
Rs 1,100 core for National Horticulture Mission
SIDBI to reduce guarantee fee
17 lakh weavers to be covered under insurance scheme
500 new labs for soil testing
Rs 16,000 crore for National Rural Emplyoment Guarantee Scheme
National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme to be extended to all districts
No change in peak rates of customs duty
Rs 500 crore to Centre of Development Studies, Tiruvananthapuram
2008 should be a year of consolidation
UPA wants to make growth inclusive
We can do better and we should; Budget 08-09 is about doing more
India determined to become self sufficient in agriculture
Finance Minister confident of 8.8% this fiscal
Sector Analysis
Negotiating a rough patch
Demand growth is expected to be buoyant driven by new vehicle launches, likely softening of interest rates and continued growth on the export front.
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Railway Budget
Lalu presents people's budget, slashes fares
The minister announced launch of several new trains and reduction in fares across all classes amid chaos by Opposition in Parliament.
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A budget for Bharat
Buoyant tax revenues a lower fiscal deficit and an economy that's in top gear permit the FM to pump big money into agriculture and the social sector. Those efforts might help at the hustings, too.
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Economic Survey
'Expand telecom infrastructure, R&D'
"With rapid growth of telecom network, there is a need to further expand the infrastructure and research and development," the survey said.
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Surfers' comments
This is a very good budget, especially for agriculture and education. P Chidambaram is the best.
- By Saravanan P (
If you can waive Rs 50,000 crore for farmers what about the tax on housing loan interest? That should also have been reduced.
- Chandra Shekar V (
Please tax the street hawkers and give relief to the salaried persons.
- Rajaram (
This is the worst budget the finance minister has ever presented. The backbone of the country's economy is the transport but he completely missed it out.
- Jayakaanthan A (
The budget is sure to augment growth and will also lessen the volatility of the stock markets.
- Sidharth Paul (
Overall, the budget is satisfactory but the health sector should have been given greater importance.
- Ankit Chaudhary (
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Business Today's Budget edition
Editorial: Predictably populist budget
Special: Something for everyone...
Column: All for the common man
Exclusive interview with the FM
Maintaining the growth story
The Finance Minister defends Budget 2008 and the Rs 60,000 crore loan waiver doled out to farmers in an exclusive interview to Business Today's Sanjoy Narayan and R Sridharan.
"Total reduction of excise duties by 2% will give a welcome boost to the manufacturing sector. Also, the exemption of specified parts of set-top boxes from customs duties is commendable".
- Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Vice Chairman, Bharti Enterprises
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Beginner’s guide to budget
Union Budget is an estimate of the Government of India's revenue and expenditure for the end of a particular fiscal year, which usually runs from April 1 to March 31. Read on...
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