Jaitley presents Union Budget despite Oppn protest

New Delhi (India), Feb. 1 : Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has begun presenting the Union Budget in Parliament today amid expectations of an increase in income tax exemption limits, to incentives for the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector post the November 8 demonetisation drive.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan paid tribute to former union minister and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader E.

Ahamed, who passed away this morning. "I would have adjourned the House. But today's sitting has been fixed by the President for presentation of the Budget. Instead the House will be adjourned tomorrow as a mark of respect for E. Ahamed ji," the Lok Sabha Speaker said. "Madam Speaker, on this auspicious day of vasant panchami I rise to present the union budget 2017-18. I am presenting this Budget when the world economy faces ," Jaitley said, as he stood to present the Budget.

However, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, urged the Speaker for postponement of the budget.

Jaitley, earlier today called on President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan. It was earlier speculated that the budget could be postponed by a day after former minister of state for external affairs and Lok Sabha MP Lok Sabha E.

Ahamed passed away at the RML Hospital in the national capital in the wee hours of today after suffering from heart attack.

This year's budget is historic in several ways. The budget is for the first time being presented on February 1, earlier it was February end event. The government is aiming at implementing the budgetary provisions from the beginning of the financial year which is April 1.

The implementation extended earlier even beyond the month of May and special budget allocations had to be made for the two months of April and May.

Another historic feature of this year's budget is that instead of a separate Rail Budget presented by the Railways Minister, allocations for the railways will be presented as part of the General Budget by the Finance Minister himself.

Yesterday, the Economic Survey tabled in the Parliament advocated for the concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI) as an alternative to the various social welfare schemes in an effort to reduce poverty.

The survey suggested that a more efficient way to help the poor will be to provide them resources directly, through a UBI.

The Economic Survey projected a growth rate of 6.75 percent to 7.5 percent for the next year (2017-18) but said that demonetisation is a risk for its growth projection.

The Survey sees India's GDP growing between 6.5 percent and 6.75 percent in the current fiscal year. After presenting the Budget, Jaitley will reply to questions by Twitterati on the Budget proposals. The questions to Jaitley can be asked on Twitter by using hashtag #MyQuestionToFM. The first part of the Budget session will continue till February 9 and after a month long recess the second part will commence from March 9.

The first part of the session has been kept brief in view of the upcoming assembly Polls in five states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur.

Source: ANI