On February 1, the Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, rolled out his fourth budget to the nation.

Here are the salient features of the Budget 2018:

Low-priced Housing Fund

The Government will also set up a specialized Affordable Housing Fund (AHF) in the National Housing Bank, furnished by the priority sector loaning deficit and entirely serviced bonds sanctioned by the Government at the Centre.

National Housing Bank

Amendments are being introduced into the National Housing Bank Act to shift its capital from the Reserve Bank of India to the Government. The Indian Post Offices Act, the Provident Fund Act and the National Saving Certificate Act are being consolidated and specific supplementary people-favorable steps are being instituted. To empower the Reserve Bank of India with a mechanism to take care of oversupply of liquidity, the Reserve Bank of India Act is being revised to regulate an Uncollateralized Deposit Facility. The Securities and 23 Exchange Board of India, Act 1992, the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act 1956 and Depositories Act 1996, rectified to lay out adjudication proceedings and to include stipulations to penalize certain infractions. The Finance Bill contains these proposals.

REITs

The Government and market moderators have adopted the requisite steps for setting up monetizing carriers such as Infrastructure Investment Trust (InvIT) and Real Investment Trust (ReITs) in India. The Government would start monetizing exclusive CPSE assets via InvITs beginning next year.

Circle Rates

At present, at the time of applying taxes to income from capital benefits, commercial profits and other origins resulting from transactions in rigid property, the consideration or circle rate value, whatsoever is more, is taken and the variation is tallied as income for both, the buyer and the seller. Occasionally, this difference can happen with respect to various properties in the same region due to an assortment of features inclusive of the configuration of the plot and whereabouts.

For the purpose of reducing ordeals in real estate deals, Jaitley proffered that no alteration would be made in a situation where the circle rate value does not surpass 5% of the consideration.

Smart Cities

Smart Cities Mission endeavors to construct 100 Smart Cities with ultramodern comfort conveniences. The finance minister expressed his pleasure on the fact that 99 Cities got the nod for an expenditure of Rs 2.04 lakh crore. These cities have begun to put into effect a variety of projects such as, Smart Command and Control Centre, Smart Roads, Solar Rooftops, Intelligent Transport Systems, Smart Parks.

Projects having and holding Rs 2,350 crore have reached completion and those valuing Rs 20,852 crore are in the process of being constructed. To uphold and revive the spirit of the heritage cities in India, National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) has been adopted on a grand scale.

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