Budget 2017-18 Current Affairs

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Government introduces alternative funding mechanism of electoral bonds: Budget

The Union Government has announced two measures in the Budget 2017-18 to bring in greater transparency in funding of political parties.

These include capping cash funding by a single anonymous donor to Rs. 2000 (one tenth of the current limit of Rs 20,000) and introduction of the electoral bonds. It will take effect from 1 April, 2018.

Key Facts
  • The finance bill lays out the way ahead for capping cash funding and sale of electoral bonds by proposing amendments in the section 13A of the Income-Tax Act, 1961 and to Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.
  • The amendment to I-T Act will provide political party exemption if the donation not exceeding Rs. 2,000 is received through instruments such as cheque, draft, electronic clearing system or electoral bond.
  • The amendment of RBI Act will facilitate introduction of electoral bonds. These bonds will be instrument to donate money to political parties and the RBI will acts as the intermediary.
  • Donors can purchase bonds only through cheque or digital mode, helping to track record of the source of the purchase.
  • These bonds shall be redeemable only in the designated account of a registered political party and within the prescribed time limit from issuance of bond.
  • The bond bearer’s identity will be unlikely revealed in the books of the political party and the recipient party will also remain unknown.

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Mahila Shakti Kendra will be set-up at village level: Budget

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget Speech 2017-18 announced corpus of Rs 500 crore for setting up Mahila Shakti Kendras in the 14 lakh ICDS Anganwadi Centres at village level.

These kendras will provide one stop convergent support services for empowering rural women with opportunities for skill development, employment, health, nutrition and digital literacy.

Key Facts
  • The budget allocation for the welfare of Women and Children under various schemes across all the Ministries the has been increased from Rs. 1,56,528 crores in 2016-17 to Rs. 1,84,632 crores in 2017-18.
  • It includes allocation of Rs 2700 crore for Maternity Benefit Programme under which Rs. 6000 each will be transferred directly to bank accounts of pregnant women undergoing institutional delivery and vaccinate their children.
  • 16745 crore has been allocated for the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme. The allocation for flagship Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme has also been doubled to Rs 200 crore.
  • Allocation for the Child Protection Scheme also has seen a substantially increased to Rs. 648 crore as compared to Rs 397 crore in 2106-17.

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Government of create five special tourism zones to boost tourism: Budget 2017-18

The Union Budget 2017-18 has announced that Government will set up five Special Tourism Zones in partnership with States.

These five special zones will be anchored as Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) that will be set up in partnership with the States. In this budget, government has allocated Rs. 1,840.77 crore to the Tourism Ministry, Rs. 250 crore more in the 2017-18 fiscal.

Other tourism related announcements in Budget
  • To boost the image of India in the international travel market Incredible India 2.0 Campaign will be unveiled across the world the financial year 2017-18.
  • 959.91 crore has been allocated for the Integrated Development of Tourist Circuits around specific themes under Swadesh Darshan scheme.
  • 100 crore has been allocated for Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD). Rs. 412 crore provided for promotion and publicity of various programmes and schemes.
  • Besides, Government has asked the Railways to start dedicated trains for tourism and pilgrimage purposes.

Swadesh Darshan Scheme: Under it, 13 thematic circuits have been identified for development, namely North-East India Circuit, Buddhist Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Desert Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Eco Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Rural Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Ramayana Circuit and Heritage Circuit.

PRASAD Scheme: Under it, 13 cities Ajmer, Amritsar, Amravati, Dwarka, Gaya, Kamakhaya, Kancheepuram, Kedarnath, Mathura, Patna, Puri, Varanasi and Velankanni have been identified for development.

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