The announcement of budget 2018 is looming just around the corner, expectations are higher than ever! On February, 1, every Indian’s eye will be full of hopes, completely focused on what Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has to offer! This is going to be fifth in a row budget presentation for FM, very first after GST scheme. Let’s take a look at what can Indians expect from Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and budget 2018!
Unlike other countries, announcement of budget is a kind of eventful affair in India. It becomes a topic that everyone talks about. The main reason for such buzz is that budget brings something for everyone. From a small farmer to a business tycoon, budget affects almost everyone directly or indirectly.
People from all corners of the country have experience the effects of tinkering indirect taxes. GST Council- after the implementation of GST (Goods and Service Tax) – will be the deciding factor for indirect taxes except customs duty.
Budget 2018: A Herculean Task for FM and Modi Government
Soon, people in India will witness the announcement of very first budget after the GST reform, last before 2019 elections. Seemingly, there are more complications to take place as all the budgeted expenditures for the financial year are spent already by the Government.Why people Only Vote For Bachelor ministers.
BJP Government being highly popular in urban areas, Gujarat elections is sure to be considered as national sentiment. As compared to previous year’s 4.9% growth, farm and agriculture sector grew only by 2.1% in this fiscal. Hence, the upcoming budget needs to have more focus on this area. An effective and transparent mechanism for better job creation is surely another aspect to be addressed in this budget.
With the elections creeping in, streamlining the economic growth is going to be on top of the to-do-list of the Government.
Reports state decline in investments, it was 34.3% of the total GDP in the year 2011-12. Now it has come down to 27% in 2016-17 and has given no sign of increase in the current year.
Investments as per the stats by Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) are at the lowest since 2004-05. It has been estimated around Rs 8 trillion ($126 billion) in 2017-18, almost 60% of proposals made in 2016-17.
This downcast in the investment is the result of twin balance sheet issue, it’s now two budgets older.
In the form of Rs 1.35 trillion-bank recapitalization plan, resolution of the problem might be seen.
The difficulties to balance the budget 2018 are endless for Modi Government. With new tax regime, revenue collection of this year is turning lower than expected. Hence, it will force the Government to borrow and addition of Rs 500 billion. It excludes Rs 800 billion that is supposed to be reserved for bank recapitalization, a real example of insult to injury.
Taking the current scenario into account, managing the finances is never going to be easy. The Government has to keep the spending in check, probably sacrificing with the growth.
One of the cases is that growth must be given priority over keeping in check the fiscal targets. For this, Government has to go beyond fiscal ceiling. On the other hand, renege from promise will- in the long run- affect the credibility, making the condition worse.
Every problem has a solution though. Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) law can be re-written and made counter-cyclical in nature, could be one of the ways to resolve the issue.
A Trinity of Challenges
Number 3 is regarded as the number of “Good Fortune”. But for FM, it has become a challenging triangle in the upcoming budget.
It has become a tough task as Finance Minister has indicated three major issues in the Indian economy.
- Federal Reserve increasing the interest rates
- Retreat from globalization
- Increasing oil prices
It will surely be an interesting part to know whether the Finance Minister has the keys to resolve these challenges.
Is it a risk of a bubble?
One of the emerging issues is capital market decoupling from the actual market. The executive vice-chairman and managing director of Kotak Mahindra Bank, Uday Kotak highlighted the issue in an interview.
Money is entering from a broad funnel, moving towards a narrow pipe. Few hundred stocks are where the Indian savers’ money is moving to. Tough questions are needed to be asked on the money moving into small and mid-cap stocks.
What can Kotak do about it?
We are having some data from association of Mutual Funds in India. Investments made in mutual funds have grown by 28% from the previous year. A lot of them are moving into stocks while affecting the key indexes.
29% of increase in a year has been noticed in 30-share S&P BSE Sensex. The specified time for this increase has been mentioned as January, 2017 and January, 2018. There is hardly any asset that can match such a dramatic increase.
When we talk about such interesting aspects, discussion on tax on long term capital gain (LTCG) on holding equity is sure. What are the expected gains while holding equity for more than a year where 15% is taxed on short term gains?
Predictions are made that when you hold the equity for around 2 years, it could be a tax-free LTCG, needing a longer holding period.
There is no guessing how additional taxes are going to affect the value of shares. Will it require the Finance Minister to have another Tobin-like tax to slow it down?
Red Lights Flashing… Everywhere!
From 6.2% in the previous year, money supply has increased to 10.5% in the current year, the demonetization effect.
On the other hand, oil prices are growing rapidly; increase in interest rate by Federal Reserve is more likely to arrive this year. Three challenges are sure to give rise to more tough tasks for the FM. It includes managing the stock market in slowing economy; incentivize private sector investment need sufficient policies, adequate allocation for rural areas and so on.
Budget 2018: Here are 27 Words you will find in Finance Minister’s Speech
The announcement of budget on February 1 is going to be crucial; here are 27 words that you will surely find in the budget announcement.
You can read key budget highlights over the years.
Tax imposed on a wide variety of Goods and Services, GST is surely going to be one of the most used words in the announcement of the budget. Goods and services in this regard exclude the supply of alcoholic liquor for the purpose of human consumption.
Direct and Indirect Taxes
Alike every budget announcement, tax is one of the common words for every budget, but this time, after GST, it will be used endless times.
Both direct and indirect taxes including income tax, corporate tax, excise duty, custom duty are supposed to be talked about.
Most probably, this is how the announcement is expected to begin. This is the comprehensive report that contains everything from government’s finances, outlay of all the activities, revenue from all the sources. Budget estimates, the accounts for the next fiscal year is also content in the report.
This word showcases the Government’s shortfall, current receipts over current expenditure.
Simply, it is the difference between revenue expenditure and revenue receipts.
People engaged in international trade are well aware of this term, though everyone involved in the financial segment know it.
Paid by both the importer and exporter, customs duty is paid when the exchange of goods take place across boundaries.
Shortfalls can take place without prior notice, fiscal deficit is the amount used to cover the shortfall.
When money is borrowed from the public, non-borrowed receipts can sometimes fall short of entire expenditure. This excess is denoted as fiscal deficit.
It is the difference between fiscal deficit and interest payments. This gives the overall idea about how much of borrowings of the government are moving towards the expenses except interest payments.
Liquidity in the economy is something that matters the most. It indicates change in the interest rates as well as the actions taken by the Central Bank regarding level of money liquidity.
Some parties collectively get involved in this, Central and State Government, Corporations, Government companies and other parties.
It’s commonly known word that indicates the (% change) in the price level, an increase in price level is denoted by inflation.
It indicates the aggregate level of revenue and spending, people will surely have an eye on this policy when this will be announced and implemented by the Finance Minister in the budget 2018.
Expenditure and revenue receipts are included in revenue budget. It is divided in tax and non-tax revenues. Imposed by Government, it includes excise, customs, service, income tax, corporate tax and others.
Dividend on investment and interest on loan are some of the major sources of non-tax revenue.
This bill is produced right after the budget is announced. It includes amendments in the tax regulations, abolition and imposition proposed in the budget.
It covers the amount for the coming financial year, the amount of money that has been allocated to any ministry or scheme.
Under Article 115 of Constitution of India, excess requires regularization. It happens in the case when total expenditure under the grant goes beyond the provision allowed with respect to supplementary grant as well as original grant.
When we talk about the annual budget, it has to go through the entire process.
It includes both the passing of appropriation bills and demands for Grants.
Vote on Account
In general, vote on account is regarded as parliament’s grant that is made in advance. It is done for a part of new financial year in respect of the expected expenditure.
It contributes to the pending the completion of process relating to passing the appropriation act and voting on the demand for Grants.
Such estimates are not voted by the Parliament. This is the reason why it doesn’t allow any expenditure on its own. It takes into account the rest of expenditure including new instrument of services as well as new services, a mid-year review of possible expenditure.
It is the process card of various Ministries of Departments; it defines how they have worked on previous year’s outlay from the budget.
From Fiscal year 2006-2007 a Parliament Outcome Budget is represented to Ministry of Finance by every ministry responsible for compiling.
Outcome Budget offers a wide variety of information that includes outcome of the funds usage, where the money sanctioned has been spent by all the Government programs.
Reviewed by the Public Accounts Committee and Comptroller & Auditor General, comments are made to take appropriate corrective actions.
Within the same Grant from one sub-head to another, appropriations are made to re-appropriate the provisions. Prior closing of the financial year, provisions are sanctioned by the competent authority.
Once budget is presented and discussion on the same is complete, members get the power and opportunity to reduce the amount or demands by moving to cut motions.
For all the ministers, Parliament has time limits for scrutinizing the expenditure demands.
The Speaker of Lok Sabha has to put across all the outstanding demands for Grants, regardless of discussion taken place for it.
Contingency Fund of India
Some urgent and unforeseen expenditure can take place at any point of time. This fund is placed at the time of disposal of the President, enabling him/her to make advances.
Consolidated Fund of India
First, let’s know what flows into it. Receipts form loan, money borrowers, revenues raised by the Government are some of the things that flow into Consolidated Fund.
Government’s expenditure excluding some exceptions met from Public Account and Contingency Funds are constructed from this account.
Minimum Alternative Tax
Companies that are under zero tax limits, there is a certain tax that every company has to pay that come under minimum alternative tax.
The point where Government works or acts as a banker, this is where public accounts are used for fund flows.
Provident Fund and Small Savings are the best examples for the same.
Money involved in this is returned to the depositor and this doesn’t belong to the Government.
It stands for the sale of shares by the Government, those with public sector undertakings.
Earning assets are converted into cash when these shares are sold for cash.
6 Ways Finance Minister Can Provide Relief to Taxpayers
With the date of budget announcement nearing, expectations of common man are also increasing from FM.
Finance Minister is expected to his best; at least meet the genuine demands of middle class people. Expectations are higher when we talk about the salaried class people. Reason is that the job market has suffered a lot after the demonetization.
Hence, common man is expecting some deductions in the tax they are paying. Moreover, there is a need to boost the morale of people to pay the tax instead of forcing them to pay higher taxes.
A Wider Taxpayer Base in Must!
Arun Jaitley has to think over some ways to enhance the number of taxpayers. There is a need to keep track on those are not paying the tax or lesser tax. As a large number of transactions are going unnoticed, it is leading to tax evasion.
Some important steps can be taken to resolve this issue. People need some encouragement so as to increase the participation in digital economy. Digital transactions easy to track, some tax concessions on digital transactions can prove to be helpful. Reduction and tax rates (both direct and indirect) can make people understand the value of participation in digital economy.
How about a Retirement Saving Scheme?
This one can make things better, a retirement saving scheme for adults who want to take great care of their parents.
It is better to introduce deductibles for those who want special care for their parents. It can be done through a retirement saving plan deductible from their taxable income. This will help the Government in many ways while encouraging more and more investments.
Housing Loan Interest Deduction needs to be extended
This can be one of the crucial steps to increase the demand in affordable housing segment. Extension was made in the following year 2016-17 and same is expected in the current year.
First time homebuyers must find the deduction very beneficial, and in turn it will encourage home buyers to make more investments.
Ultimately, this is sure to boost the economy.
Setting Off and Recovery from Loss from House Property
2 Lakh has been the set limit for setting off of loss from house property. Homeowners who are single, to claim the entire amount paid on interest on home loan need this deduction without limit.
Deductions can be justified in case when the limit can be set at a higher amount of 5 Lakh.
Let’s take some facts into account.
Reasonable properties in most of the cities cost somewhere around 40 Lakh to 50 Lakh, whereas loans available today are somewhere around 30 Lakh to 40 Lakh.
To cover the entire amount of interest paid, the limit of 2 Lakh is too low.
Apart from this, when higher amount of interests are paid, carry forwards don’t work.
If this gets implemented in a certain way, it will be a smooth road towards Narendra Modi’s “Housing for All” objective.
Rethink about some Allowances
The founder and CEO of ClearTax.in, Archit Gupta raised a very important point regarding this issue.
Current medical reimbursement allowance is still at 15,000 for tax free status. This amount is very little for families where medical bills, tests and consultations can easily create the disturbance.
Doubtlessly, there are more allowances that are needed to be taken into account. Medical reimbursement allowance is expected to increase to Rs. 30,000.
Wider the benefits of Presumptive Taxation
Accountants, doctors, engineers and lawyers started getting benefits of presumptive taxation in the extension made in previous year.
It has simplified taxation for many professionals.
There is nothing wrong if other professionals expect the same benefits for them as well.
Taxpayer base is sure to get wider if presumptive taxation scheme benefits more professionals. It can include beauticians and makeup artists, electricians, photographers and so on.
Expectations from Budget 2018
From a common man to business owner, there are endless expectations from this upcoming budget. Finance Minister must bring something extra-ordinary in this budget as election will be held in many key states this year. It includes Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka and others.
Modi Government, with this budget is expected to focus on infrastructure, SMBs, healthcare advancements and rural spending. Let’s have a look on various expectations-
Infrastructure is surely going to be among top priorities in the upcoming budget. The way infrastructure has developed in the previous year, FM is looking forward to continue the momentum.
On the other hand, development of rural infrastructure is also going to be a hot topic.
The biggest ever highway development plan (under Bharatmala project) has already been given a green light by the Government.
Expectations are also for the betterment of housing, urban infrastructure, water and sanitation.
Since railway budget and union budget are now merged, railway infrastructure is another hot topic to be taken into account.
Amendment in Tax Structure
Directed by CBDT member Arbind Modi, a task force has already been established to review the existing tax structure of the country. With hope to match the existing requirement this task force is looking forward to make taxes more contemporary.
Expectations are change in direct tax structure that also includes income tax.
In addition to this, tax rates are also needed to be justified.
Public Sector Banks Recapitalization
This news has already created a lot of excitement in the bond and equity market. Bad loans of public sector bank needs to be tackled and hence, a recapitalization plan was announced in October.
The plan is valued at 2.11 Lack Crore, 13,500 Crore to be reserved for front-loaded recapitalization bonds. Neither the type of bonds, nor the interest rates have been disclosed by the bank yet.
Some news state that Government will raise 70,000 crore by February, 2018, the time when budget will be announced.
What 6 Crucial Industries in India Expect from Budget 2018
Now, let’s talk about what different industries are expecting from Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and his budget announcement-
Increase in Healthcare Outlay
In India, public health infrastructure is in need of investment, NDTV has reported the same. Where a large number of Indians bear the cost of their healthcare, continuity in increase is highly expected. Healthcare outlay after the announcement of previous year’s budget got increased by 28%.
World Bank Report 2016 states that- one out of five people are below poverty line in India. Cost of healthcare in such circumstances is an additional financial burden.
Independently operating investment and credit rating agency, IRCA is expecting relief from burden from the upcoming budget.
In comes the National Health Policy (NHP), expecting to focus on more beds in hospital at district and town levels. Overall, expectations are to have a better healthcare infrastructure.
Demand of Income Security Act
Due to some agricultural issues, previous year has witnessed many large scale pretests in states like Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.
Such issues included but were not limited to crop loan wavier demand and decrease in crop prices.
In the upcoming budget, agriculture experts demand for Income Security Act, considering the day-to-day challenges of farmers.
Security General of Consortium of Indian Farmers Association (CIFA), B Dasaratha Reddy, in his interview revealed some surprising facts.
In the year 2012, the median income of a farmer was 1600 rupees per month.
For now, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (FMFBY) insures crops for farmers who struggle. Though, there is a need to include more farmer belonging assets in the future.
Dreams of Housing
So many plans are built to help people get a roof over their heads and to deal with migration. It is becoming more and more important to regulate rental housing stock in urban areas and others.
PM Narendra Modi is looking forward to create “Housing for All” by the year 2022.
A report by Money Control states that Indian Economy is supposed to grow at 8-9% yearly!
It is quite a big challenge to facilitate affordable housing in India. VC and CEO of HDFC- Keki Mistry had a word with CNBC-TV18, representing the concern and suggestion on making affordable houses available.
Women’s Safety needs Attention
Considering the increasing crimes against women, the Government announced Nirbhaya fund.
Either the fund was not utilized in a certain way, or the entire planning was faulty.
This, in turn, resulted in the failure of the plan. Government is supposed to allocate more funds to this cause.
Startups in Hospitality Demand Taxation on only Actual Price
Startups are not happy with the way customers are charged for hotel rooms.
Hospitality business greatly depends on some factors such as location of the hotel, demands of room and of course, season.
GST system has been applied on hotel rooms in 3 different slabs.
- 5% tax on hotel room ranging below 1000.
- 12% tax on hotel rooms ranging from 1000-2500.
- 18% tax on hotel rooms ranging from 2500-5000.
When taxes will be imposed on actual price of the hotel room, it will bring the price down from 18% to 12%.
Amendment in Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY)
One of the finest health schemes for people falling below poverty line, scheme picked up the pace in April, 2008.
Since the year 2015, it has been translated into Ministry of health and Family Welfare.
Through this scheme, people get a health card, allowing people to receive medical care up to 30,000 in both the government and private hospitals.
Those who are below poverty line are expecting more effective healthcare and hoping for the amount to increase to 1 Lakh.
First National Employment Policy
UN Labor Report reveals a stunner about unemployment in India, giving 18 million as projected number.
Extremely worrying situation, especially for the Government promising more than 1 crore jobs after the UPA’s reign of “jobless growth”.
The very first National Employment Policy (NEP) is seemingly a hope to tackle the situation.
This policy is going to be a road map to create quality jobs in various sectors. It will include social, economic and labor policy, to be disclosed in budget 2018.
Upcoming policy will have something beneficial for small and mid-sized businesses and the major job providers. Incentives for employers expected if they create more quality jobs.
With NEP policy, experts are hoping for more jobs in formal sectors while ensuring quality job for millions of youth joining country every year.
Some statistics by the Ministry of Labor and Employment is worth mentioning here.
6 million workforce of the country is in informal employment, unable to earn the minimum wages and not covered by social security law.
Organized sector employment stands at only 10.1% of entire employment i.e. 472.4 million in the year 2011-12.
Substantive changes are necessary to deal with the current issues in employment landscape. NEP is expected to be a step in the right direction.
Expectations of Salaried Class People
Expectations are surely going to be high from the salaried class people in the Budget 2018.
Middle class people are expecting feather tax rebates to reduce tax related burden and incentivize savings.
Align Tax Year and Calendar Year
It is sure to bring cheers to the taxpayer when some reasonable reduction in the existing personal tax rates will take place.
Survey and report by Deloitte has given some amazing figures.
It covers the opinion from around 700 middle class managers. More than 55% of respondents are expecting basic exemption limit to be raised to 5 Lakh instead of 2.5 Lakh.
One of the most interesting facts about the survey is that more than 84% of people are happy if the tax year (April-March) aligns with the calendar year (January-December).
Education Tax is a Burden
When we talk about middle class people, educating children is a tough task for them. Education has become expensive over the past few years and tax on the same is additional financial burden.
Tax relief in this regard will help the middle class families in many ways and at the same time make education more and more affordable.
The respondents in the Deloitte report (94%) are expecting at least 5000 per month per child relief in tax on education. Will there be something for middle class people to help them educate their children in a cost effective way?
Home Loan Tax Rebate
Following the reports by Deloitte, there are 51% respondents who agree to the fact that deduction of interest on housing loan needs to be extended from 2 Lakh to at least an amount of 3.5 Lakh.
In addition, expectations also state that if someone owns more than one house property, only one can be considered to be self-occupied.
Another fact states that 58% respondents argue that there is a need to discontinue the concept of deemed rent on vacant properties.
Medical Expenses, the Tax-free Limit
Gradual deduction is expected alike the one in the corporate tax rates, people are expecting both of them to reduce form 30% to 25% in the budget 2018.
Eagerly waiting, the salaried class people want to see the increasing limit of deduction under SEC-80C. The expectations are for few of the payments and investments that are currently capped at 1.5 Lakh.
Other side is medical expenses that work as a huge financial burden on middle class families, the current set limit of 15000 is not appropriate for many families.
More than half i.e. 58% of respondents are expecting the limit to be raised to the amount of 40,000 Rs.
Only 40% of respondents are happy if the limit is doubled to 30,000 Rs.
Employer and employee have some expectations in this regard. When an employer is offering some free meals to the employees, the tax-free limit for the same is Rs 50 per meal.
Managers are expecting this limit to be raised to at least 100 Rs per meal or may be 200 Rs per meal.
E-assessment needs to be Jurisdiction-free
Giving green light to the concept of Jurisdiction-free E-assessment, 64% is a great number of respondents to support the matter.
It comes out as one of the necessities to simplify assessment proceedings. Only a handful of people (20%) believe that this move is not going to be helpful in any way.
Realizing the “Digital India” Dream with Union Budget 2018
Demonetization initiative coupled with implementation of GST has been a revolutionary changes India has witnessed. It is the time when the nation is on a trajectory of exponential growth, there are a few roadblocks to overcome and hence, budget 2018 has its own unique role.
FinTech has taken a highly important responsibility of establishing formalized and digitized economy. On the other hand, Policy landscape coupled with the FinTech ecosystem has enjoyed mutual benefits as policy changes have been powered by FinTech’s growth.
What Changes can FinTech Companies Experience with the Upcoming Budget
Can we expect budget 2018 to encourage digital transactions with the help of tax rebates?
Steady focus on innovation coupled with consistent reinforcement of digital capabilities make the most successful economy. Once the payment experience by the customers will increase, it is sure to simplify the lives.
Tax Rebates to Boost Digital Transactions
Demonetization has surely changed the mindset of both customers and merchants as people are making more transactions than ever through digital payment mediums.
Of course, even after rapid adaption, security concerns still exist.
Government, with the help of tax rebates can promote digital transactions that will ultimately help in transaction tracking and transparency.
ATM Usage and Cash in Circulation need Rethinking
Where people in metro cities are quiet familiar with the digital transactions, some rural sectors depend heavily on cash in hand. Problems with the cash are circulation is due to unclear withdrawal from parent and non-parent ATMs.
Government can easily encourage the digital transactions through dis-incentivizing the use of cash. This is the way how dependency on digital transactions can be increased.
Provide Digital Industry with Infrastructure Status
Backend mechanism that is governing the industry can be influenced by the Government. All it will take is to grant infrastructure status to the digital payment companies. Intangible benefits for the industry players are sure to come with this move.
What Real Estate Expects from Budget 2018
Real estate has suffered a lot in the previous year, policy reforms are considered to be the big reasons.
After RERA and GST slowing down the real estate, expectations from Finance Minister Arun Jaitley are higher than ever before.
The thrust of Modi Government on affordable housing coupled with Housing for All by 2022 echoes the already high hopes of real estate.
The first few months of 2017, real estate growth remained stagnant. Who else doesn’t know the reason- the demonetization effect!
Experts are expecting sales to improve, thanks to the RERA.
According to the experts, last quarter of the precious year was encouraging for real estate and sales are expected to grow. Major announcements are expected that include-
Increase in Exemption Limit
First time homebuyers are expecting more relief in the coming budget.
The Government is expected to reduce the tax deduction limit to 5 Lakh; present limit is 2 Lakh per annum.
Similar limit is expected to be set for principle loan repayment, present limit is 1.5 Lakh.
Shed Light on Industry Status
This demand of real estate players is pending for long.
Availing the legitimate finance form banks is becoming a difficulty in the absence of industry status.
There are some amazing benefits associated with the industry status as it can it will reduce the overall project cost, while helping to occupy low-cost loans.
Single Window Clearance
Presently, project developers are supposed to get multiple permissions and approvals to get started.
It takes somewhere between 18 to 36 month to begin a project.
To reduce the approval time, Government must implement single window clearance system that will help in many ways.
Some important parameters for building are its approval time and cost, both can be reduced with a single window clearance in place.
Reduction in GST Rates
Quite high than previously implemented taxes, under-construction buildings are currently levied by 12% GST. With hope to increase the demand in realty sector, players in the domain are expecting reduction in GST.
Home for Needy People
20% of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna, if implemented properly, can lead to 50% of amazing growth in the GDP.
The government has to focus on North Eastern States, Telengana and West Bengal to explore the available potential in the market. This is surely a great contribution to enhance the quality of life in India.
Introduction of E-way bills
Government has also introduced E-way bills portal for movement of good with value of more than 50,000 rupees.
Just a couple of days to go, let’s see what budget 2018 and Finance Minister has to offer. Alike previous year, Narendra Modi has promised the budget to be the Budget of People’s Dream. This announcement is surely going to be exciting.