Nancy B. Varghese
The Union Budget for 2018-19 was presented by the finance minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament on Thursday. This is the first budget after major economic reforms such as the Goods and Services Tax (GST), mega PSU bank recapitalisation, dynamic fuel pricing, and many more.
The Union Budget 2018 also includes the Railway Budget, which was presented separately till it was decided to present a joint annual budget in 2017.
The total capital expenditure for Indian Railways set at Rs 1,48,528 crore, and in a bid to overhaul the railway stations’ infrastructure, all stations that have a footfall of 25,000 passengers will now have escalators.
This is great news for commuters, particularly in the Mumbai locals, who have a difficult time commuting to and from work during peak hours. As well as the safety of passengers on railway bridges, which can be dangerous due to the sheer number of people using the bridge.
To provide connectivity on the go, now all trains will soon be equipped with WiFi and CCTV cameras - another fantastic move that is paramount to the safety of women in local trains, with special attention to late night commute.
An allocation of Rs 3,073 crore was done for Digital India scheme with approximately five lakh WiFi hotspots to be installed to provide broadband services to five crore rural citizens. An allocation of Rs 10,000 crore was proposed for the same - which means you can stay connected and on the go even in the most rural places of India, who will now have access to the internet. Hooray for travel enthusiasts too!
After hiked custom duties, cell phones, cars and motorcycles, fruit juices, perfumes and footwear are among some of the items that will be getting more expensive. Here is a complete list of items on the budget -
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