PUNJAB AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY
ECONOMISTS DELIBERATE ON UNION BUDGET 2018 AT PAU
LUDHIANA, MARCH 22:
The Department of Economics and Sociology, PAU, organized a talk on “A Critical Look at Union Budget 2018” by Dr Jaswinder Singh Brar, Professor of Economics, Punjabi University, Patiala. The talk was held keeping in view the Union Budget 2018 which aims at strengthening India’s agriculture, rural development, health, education, employment and infrastructure sectors.
Dr Brar discussed the status of key taxes, namely, custom duty, union excise duty, service tax and GST (Goods and Service Tax); and further unfolded the introduction of standard deduction and long term capital gain tax on securities. On revenue side, he highlighted the enhancement of custom duties on large number of commodities.
The Union Budget 2018 gave impetus to agricultural and health sector of the economy. The Speaker gave an overview of allocation of funds to have important initiatives such as MGNREGAS, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, urban development, flood control, irrigation, education and health care. The Budget has made bold announcement for agriculture wherein the MSP of crops will be fixed 50 per cent more than the cost of production, however, no allocation of funds has been made for the purpose. For healthcare, the budget proposes health coverage of Rs 5 lakh per annum to 10 crore poor and vulnerable families. Critically, the budget revealed strong gaps on announcements and allocations and does not address the issue of investment inadequacy.
While discussing various aspects of the budget, Dr Sukhpal Singh, Professor and Head of the department, expressed that the current budget had a lopsided taxation base with low allocations for capital expenditure.
Dr Manjeet Kaur, Professor of Economics, opined that the new schemes for enhancing agricultural production also needs to factor in irrigation bottlenecks.
Dr Jasdev Singh, Dr M.S. Sidhu and Dr H.S. Kingra stressed upon employment generation in the economy. The faculty members applauded the implementation of diversification plan through effective MSP for alternative crops.