Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Friday the government's priority for the future would be infrastructure development and clearing backlog of defence procurement, among others. Development of rural India and improvement of healthcare and education would be the other priority areas, he said at the Hindu Business Line award function here.
"In future may be four priorities-- rural India, backlog of defence procurement, healthcare and education and of course infrastructure," he said. "I foresee a better quality of life in urban slums, rural India and the policies must be aimed at allowing these people to aspire and get into at least neo middle class. Two areas where we seriously need to concentrate is healthcare and education," he said.
There are some areas which are growing and some require support from the government for improving capacity like rural sector, he said, adding higher resources would help the government to spend more on infrastructure development. The effort of the government has been to maximise resources with lowering of the tax rate by following the theory of lower taxation higher compliance, he said.
In the last five years, there has not been a single incidence of increase in tax rate and rates in both direct and indirect taxes have been lowered, he said. Talking about Ayushman Bharat programme, he said 16 lakh people have benefited from this cashless insurance scheme of the government in the first four months of its launch. With this scheme suddenly 78 per cent of the population came under the health insurance cover, he said.
The ambitious scheme launched in September 2018 aims at providing coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family annually, benefiting more than 10 crore poor families. Eligible people can avail the benefits in the government and listed private hospitals. The scheme targets poor deprived rural families and identified occupational category of urban workers' families, 8.03 crore in rural and 2.33 crore in urban areas, as per the latest Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data. It has provided cover of around 50 crore people.