FREE PRESS BUDGET DECODER

Income Tax
No tax till Rs 5 lakh income,still ITR has to be filed: Rathi

In the case of no I-T till (income for) Rs 5 lakh per annum for the salaried class, should be understood in the proper perspective. This benefit can be availed through rebate and not by raising the limit of tax exception from Rs 2.50 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.

As per Clause 8 of the Finance Bill, amendment of section 87A of the I-T Act has been necessitated to provide relief to the individual taxpayers by increasing the maximum amount of tax rebate to Rs 12,500 from existing Rs 2500. The tax rebate shall now be admissible to taxpayers having total income up to Rs 5 lakh.

So in actual terms, ZERO tax up to a total taxable Income of 5 lakh is in the form of a rebate under Section 87A which means It will be available only to those Individuals whose total taxable income is less than or equal to 5Lakh (after availing all available deductions)! There is no change in Tax slabs and there is no exemption to those Individuals whose total taxable income (after all deductions) is more than Rs 5 lakh. However, tax payers have to file ITR. -Umesh Rathi,
Certified Financial Planner

Economy
Good attempt… 8 out of 10 in my opinion: Mishra

The budget provisions seems to be a bird’s eye view or a policy document for the upcoming parliamentary elections. The FM has successfully highlighted the achievement of the government, including claim of detection of concealed income of Rs 1.3 lakh crores on account of demonetization besides induction of 1 crore new tax payers.

The budget, has for the first time, taken adequate care of farmers and labourers together. Some of the note worthy declarations made were like the enhancement of minimum support price for 22 crops, Kissan Samman Yojna by which Rs 6000 would be transferred by Centre to the bank account of marginal and small farmers having 2 acre land.

Similarly, a pension scheme of Rs 3,000 to labourers above the age of 60 will also help in upgrading the living standards of people belonging to this class. Over all the budget signifies ‘transformational structural reforms. I rate the budget as excellent and give 8 out of 10 points. -SK Mishra,
Ex-Vice Chairman Income Tax Settlement Commission.

Housing
Hope of reviving sluggish demand for housing: Mehta

I am especially happy to note that housing for All by 2022 has been considered by the government to be an essential component of New India. The Budget is a dream come true for real estate. Formal recognition in the Budget to reduce GST burden on homebuyers based on GOM recommendations is a matter of satisfaction for real estate industry.

Section 24 benefit relieving second houses from income tax on notional rent and exempting second homes investment from capital gains would revive the sluggish demand for housing. Increasing the TDS threshold  to Rs 2.4 lakh and allowing two years exemption from notional rent on unsold inventory remove major irritants.

Section 80-IBA extension by one year is a boast to affordable housing. Above all, freeing incomes up to Rs. 5 lakh from income tax which potentially means exemptions on incomes of Rs. 6.5 lakh or more, increases the purchasing power and the power to invest in the hands of the consumer capable of flowing into housing. We are looking forward for positive steps by the Government in GST reform to anchor this 2030 vision and relief to the Real Estate industry. -Naveen Mehta,
National Joint. Secretary, CREDAI and President CREDAI Indore chapter

Defence
Defence budget still low but must be welcomed: Lt Col (Rtd) Shukla

At 1.56 per cent of GDP, the Rs 3 lakh crores allotted for Indian defence has to be welcomed. In numbers, it may not be comparable favourably with America at 3.6%, China 2% and Pakistan 3.2%, the 3 countries we are directly engaged strategically.

However, the budget has to be seen in conjunction with other developments. The defence forces are right sizing for task oriented formations at a fast pace. They are finally breaking free from the shackles of World War vintage strategic thought. The leaner forces may cost less but are getting meaner with the highly energized integration with technology. This government needs to be applauded for the priority given to defence and a war level drive to prepare and equip our forces with the best and cost effective amendments. -Lt Col (Retd.)
Anurag Shukla.

Banking
Budget provisions affect banking industry: Goyal

The banking industry is the backbone of any economy. Our banking Industry is presently suffering from high NPAs, poor corporate earnings and the poor loan repayment culture. Unfortunately, the current Budget does not propose to address any of the severe problems being faced by the banking Industry.

As regards the other provisions of the budget, which may slightly affect positively to the Banking Industry, are reduction in Tax rates, Interest Subvention Schemes and boost to the farmers and middle income groups. This will definitely increase the disposable/discretionary incomes/ savings of the people.

This money will be used either in savings or in consumption. Both these options will be beneficial for the banking industry.
The boost to the real estate industry especially those related with affordable housing segment and the promise for reduction in GST rates will also be beneficial to the overall economy including banks. -CA. Rajendra Goyal,
Ex Director (independent) then State Bank of Indore

Police and Para Military Force
Police and Para military forces ignored: Tripathi

The allocation of Rs 3 lakh crore for Defence forces, which is 1.56 percent of GDP, is really a welcome decision. But at the same time it was expected from FM to take care of requirement of Para military and police forces also. It should be kept in mind that the country is facing a great amount of threat from Naxalites in certain states, which has become not only a state subject but also a federal security subject.

Owing to these aspects it was expected to some measures for police and Para Military forces. But this could not have been made. It should be kept in mind that these forces are still fighting in inhospitable conditions. They need more sophisticated weapons and uniform. We must hope that these concerns will be addressed in the full budget to be presented in July by the new government. However, provisions made for the civil society, farmers and labors are fine. -NK Tripathi,
Retd Director General of Police, MP.

Companies
India on way to $10 Trillion economy by 2026: Garg

The budget predicting Indian economy to be in $ 5 trillion economic club by next 5 years and $10 trillion club by next eight years shows the confidence of India the way the Indian economy is progressing. To achieve this target, India is focusing on three important sectors like manufacturing, service sector and agriculture.

 Importantly, the companies to be a major player in boosting the economy after all this is the sector where the growth rate is still low. However, if the same kind of reforms can be maintained in future also this will benefit the companies, which will boost the economy and generate employment.

Further through various government schemes like make in India, ease of doing business etc., Government is expected to create huge opportunities for technology firms, more particularly to IT and ITeS, BPO and SME sectors. The Government seems to be confident that with this increase in services sector export would also increase. -CS Ashish Garg,
National Vice President Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI)

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