The Union Budget 2018-19 marked the last full budget of the current government before 2019 general elections. The budget is aligned around flagship schemes of the government like Digital India, Make in India, Clean Ganga, Healthcare for underprivileged, among others.
What's unique about Union Budget 2018-19
Fiscal goal post shifts
The plan is to contain fiscal deficit to 3.3% of the GDP for 2018-19. An aggressive fiscal consolidationhas been avoided (as suggested in Economic Survey) to give support to the nascent recovery in growth.
Focus on rural, agriculture and infrastructure
Given this is an election-heavy year, higher expenditure allocations have been made to agriculture, healthcare and education sectors. Allocation to both roads and railways has been increased.
First budget post GST implementation
The GST collection is projected to be buoyant in FY 2018-19. The GST Council under the principle of collective federalism is the empowered body to amend GST rates and procedures and the budget ceases to address GST matters other than changes in the law.