Budget 2018: How the New Year can bring healthier outlook for Indians

Amid confusing taxation rules, new legislature, capping and trust deficit, Union Budget 2018 can be pivotal in highlighting the importance of health and well-being for Indians


Live Budget 2018 :

“The best way to predict your future is to create it.” When Abraham Lincoln was saying these words, he used them to instil motivation, enthusiasm and new vigour in the American people. Today, many decades after and continents away, these lines seem apt for a year ahead in India.

Budget 2018 Just as we dwell on the aspects that need to be set right this year – in the Budget 2018-19 and outside of it – we prepare our industry resolution to understand that our actions have impacts on generations to come. We as healthcare providers and as active participants in the story of ‘Evolving India’ have been entrusted to pay a pivotal role and we, through our small endeavours, may be playing a major role in the changing landscape of healthcare in our country.

Just when we are battling taxation rules, new legislature, capping and above all a trust deficit, I strongly believe in 2018, we as healthcare providers will understand and set the motion rolling for people to understand the importance of health and wellbeing.

In 2017, as Arunachal Pradesh has been declared ‘Open Defecation Free’ after Sikkim, I feel positive as the aura of healthcare becomes bigger. I would like to congratulate the rising citizen of the country who through unfortunate mishaps and misfortunes of pollution, deforestation and adverse impact have come around to understand the importance of wellbeing, fitness and prevention. These recent developments have helped me envisage a vision for 2018.

Click to Read → Budget 2018 Date


Budget 2018: Disincentivise cigarette smuggling through tax policy

FAIFA said seizure of smuggled cigarettes has doubled in the last two years indicating the increase in smuggling.


Budget 2018 Updates :

Ahead of the budget, farmers body FAIFA today asked the government to have a taxation policy that curbs cigarette smuggling, saying Indian tobacco growers are suffering due to it.

The Federation of All India Farmer Associations (FAIFA), claiming to represent farmers of commercial crops across Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Gujarat among others, said steep increase in tobacco taxation in the recent past led to growth of smuggling of cigarettes in the country.

“We appeal to the government to have a taxation policy, that disincentivises cigarette smuggling,” FAIFA General Secretary Murali Babu said in a statement.

FAIFA said seizure of smuggled cigarettes has doubled in the last two years indicating the increase in smuggling.

With the smuggled products cheaper, there has been a shift in consumption which affected Indian tobacco farmers adversely as the smuggled cigarettes do not use Indian tobacco, it added.

This has resulted in drop in earnings of Flue Cured Virginia (FCV) tobacco farmers which have shrunk cumulatively by more than Rs 3,300 crore since 2013-14, FAIFA claimed.

Babu said India has a huge and wide-spread dependence on the tobacco crop for livelihood.

“The socio-economic importance of tobacco and its employment-generation capacity should not be overlooked while framing tobacco taxation and regulatory policies in India,” he added.

Click to Read → Budget 2018-19 Updates

Budget 2018: Jaitley’s speech, deficit data to decide rupee’s fate in 2018

How Modi fares in reining in the fiscal deficit while seeking to jump-start activity may determine the currency’s direction for the remainder of the year, analysts say.


Budget News :

Don’t let the rupee’s strength fool you, strategists say. The rally that boosted the currency to the strongest in 32 months will probably be short-lived.

The rupee is facing headwinds as elevated energy prices threaten to increase inflation and worsen public finances in a nation that imports most of its oil needs. Traders are also bracing for higher government spending as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to take measures in the February budget to revive an economy that’s forecast to grow at the slowest pace in four years.

How Modi fares in reining in the fiscal deficit while seeking to jump-start activity may determine the currency’s direction for the remainder of the year, analysts say.

“The budget could well set the tone for the rupee in 2018,” said Aditya Pugalia, Dubai-based director of financial markets at Emirates NBD PJSC, the second most-accurate forecaster in Bloomberg’s quarterly rankings. “A slip-up on the deficit could add a layer of uncertainty.”

Emirates NBD predicts the rupee will weaken to 65 per dollar by the end of March. Mizuho Bank Ltd., the third-best forecaster in Bloomberg’s survey, sees it depreciating to 65.60, while the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey is 64.50. The rupee advanced to 63.2463 on Jan. 8, the strongest since April 2015. It rose 0.3 percent Monday to 63.4175.

The forecasts mark a turnaround in sentiment. The rupee strengthened in 2017 for the first time in seven years as slow inflation, stable commodity prices and a slew of policy reforms lured about $30 billion of foreign inflows into India’s stocks and bonds.

Click To Read : Budget 2018 News

Budget 2018 may waive NOC to streamline transfer of stressed assets

NOC will be waived for transactions between firms under insolvency and those buying their assets

Budget 2018-19To further ease the insolvency and bankruptcy process and streamline the acquisition of stressed assets, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley may do away with no-objection certificates required for asset transfers.

This comes under Section 281 of the Income-Tax Act, and it will be waived for transactions between companies under insolvency and those buying their assets.

Apart from this, the Budget may also get rid of stamp duties on transfers of stressed assets. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has said that the minimum alternate tax will not be applicable to firms undergoing insolvency proceedings.

Besides, the finance minister’s speech is also likely to dwell on three biggest “disruptive” reforms carried out in recent times, demonetisation, the goods and services tax, and insolvency proceedings.

Sources say Jaitley will present a report card of all three measures and may reveal new details, apart from the data out in the public domain.

Section 281 of the Income Tax Act, 1961, requires an assessee to obtain the permission of the assessing officer before creating a charge on or transfer of certain assets, including land, building, machinery, manufacturing facilities, and others.

Sources who have interacted with the finance ministry as well as the ministry of corporate affairs in the run-up to the Budget say that deliberations are taking place to remove the provision for companies acquiring stressed assets. “This, along with the issue of the MAT and stamp duty, will ease the process of acquiring assets of companies that have undergone the bankruptcy process through the National Companies Law Tribunal (NCLT),” said a source.

Click to Read → Union Budget 2018-19

Budget 2018: Council may cut GST rates for 70 items; 40 on revision list

Aiming to boost the struggling agriculture and rural economy, and encourage clean energy, the Council is expected to rationalise rates.Budget 2018 _ 3

Budget 2018 : A fortnight ahead of the Union Budget, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council is likely to take up rationalisation of rates of about 70 items, of which at least 40 are services. Amendment in rules may also be taken up to simplify filing and plug some of the loopholes. A fitment committee of officers has made these recommendations to the Council, which will meet on Thursday.

With the aim to boost struggling agriculture and rural economy, and encourage clean energy, the Council is expected to rationalise rates of agriculture implements and unconventional fuel buses. It is the last Council meeting before Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presents his last full Budget on 1 February, before general elections in 2019.

“Around 40 to 50 services will be taken up for a rate revision in the Council meeting. These are services that were earlier exempt but were taxed under the GST regime. They are facing issues,” said a government official.

Agriculture implements that are currently taxed up to 18 per cent may come under the 12 per cent or the 5 per cent bracket.

Agriculture sector growth is projected to fall to 2.1 per cent in FY18 because of an expected drop in the rabi harvest, an almost 3 per cent fall in kharif production, according to Advance Estimates by the Central Statistics Office. In the earlier meetings, the Council had lowered the rate on tractor parts from 28 per cent to 18 per cent.

In the last full Budget of the National Democratic Alliance government, measures to give a push to the rural, and small enterprise sectors are likely.

Click To Read → Union Budget 2018

Budget 2018: Know your savings if FM Jaitley changes tax exemption limit

Business Standard takes a look at the likely scenarios of change in the personal income-tax exemption limit and how your wallet would be impacted in each of those scenarios.

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Budget 2018 There have been reports that Budget 2018 could bring a huge relief for the middle class, with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley increasing the personal tax exemption limit and tweaking tax slabs.

This is the last full Budget of the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) govt in its present term.

The finance inistry has received proposals that the tax exemption limit should be increased to at least Rs 300,000 per year, if not Rs 500,000, from the existing Rs 250,000.

A tinkering of the tax slab, should that happen, would also give a substantial relief to the middle-income group, especially the salaried class, which has been hit by the impact of retail inflation lately.

Business Standard takes a look at the likely scenarios of a change in the personal income tax exemption limit and how your wallet would be impacted in each of those scenarios.

Note: Rebate u/s 87A is available as lower of Rs. 2,500 or actual tax liability, provided the Total Income is below Rs 500,000.

Click to Read → Budget 2018 Highlights

Budget 2018: From FDI to unified market, challenges ahead for retail sector

Indian retail industry is projected to grow at a promising CAGR of 10% to reach $1.1 trn by 2021

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Budget 2018 : Key challenges

  • Multiplicity of laws & regulations governing the sector
  • Lack of industry status for retail
  • Lack of clarity and understanding of regulations/guidelines governing online retail trading leading to ambiguities and hurdles for the e-commerce sector
  • Lack of access to organised funding, especially to small retailers

What industry wants

  • National Retail Policy: A single retail policy will help streamline various laws and regulations affecting the retail sector
  • Unified National Market: To be globally competitive, India needs to adopt a ‘unified market’ approach to the retail sector – minimise licences required and establish a system of single-window clearance. The game-changing GST will help
  • Rationalisation of FDI: While the government has given the necessary push to ‘Make in India’ in food retail, it would help if non-food ‘Make in India’ retail category can also witness a liberalised FDI policy
  • SBRT and MBRT: The SBRT and MBRT frameworks need to be defined in the FDI policy. Divisions could be on the basis of nature or formats of retail
  • Industry status: This will improve access to funding to MSME retailers, especially amid high pressure with growing competition from organised retail and e-commerce

Click to Read → Budget 2018 Speech

Budget bonanza: Govt likely to do away with dividend distribution tax

There has been discontent about this tax, because any corporate which pays dividend has to pay two taxes – the income tax on its profits and the DDT.

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Budget 2018 : The finance ministry is likely to do away with the dividend distribution tax (DDT) in the upcoming Union Budget. Sources in the know have said there have been considerable discussions on the topic among various stakeholders.

At present, if a company gives dividend to its shareholders, it has to pay DDT of 20.36 per cent (15 per cent plus surcharge and cess).

Two stakeholders, who met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia separately for pre-Budget consultations, told Business Standard that the issue of DDT came up in the meetings that took place between industry representatives and Adhia.

This move, experts say, would help the government in more ways than one — it would boost India Inc’s ease of doing business, encourage firms to give more dividends, and improve returns for retail investors in the lower income tax bracket.

“It is expected that Budget 2018 may propose a withdrawal of DDT and return to the classic system of dividend taxation, that is, dividend income to be taxed at the hands of the recipient shareholders,” said Sonu Iyer, partner and leader, India region people advisory services, EY.

Click to Read → Union Budget 2018-19

Budget 2018: What Pranab, Chidambaram & Jaitley did & didn’t do in the past

Here are the key highlights of the Union Budgets from 1997 to 2017.


Budget 2018 : Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is all set to present Budget 2018 on February 1. While Budget expectations and Budget wishlist have started coming from all quarters and sectors, what the finance minister will announce in his Budget speech is known only to a select few members of the Budget-making team of the finance ministry.

There is a view that Jaitley would deliver a populist Budget this time, given that it is the last full Budget of the Narendra Modi-led central government in its present term. However, this has been a fiscally difficult year for the government, and prudent economics would not allow him to give freebies.

There have been reports that Jaitley might even consider increasing the personal income tax exemption limit to benefit the middle class salaried people, who have been impacted lately by rising retail inflaion.

Business Standard takes a look at the past Budgets and the key highlights that took the centre stage and became a talking point.

  • The Union Budget 1998-99, 1999-00, 2000-01, 2002-03 was read by Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha.
  • The Union Budget 2003-04 was read by Finance Minister Jaswant Singh
  • The Union Budget 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07,  2007-08, 2008-09, 2013-14 was read by Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
  • The Union Budget 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13 was read by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
  • The Union Budget 2014-15,  2015-16, 2016-17 was read by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

Click to Read → Budget 2018-19

Budget 2018: Amfi wants debt-linked savings scheme included in Section 80C

A look at the mutual fund industry’s budget expectations from finance minister Arun Jaitley in Union Budget 2018.

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Budget 2018 : The Association of Mutual Funds in India (Amfi) recently forwarded its Budget 2018 wishlist to the finance ministry. The list of the mutual fund industry’s Budget 2018 expectations from Finance Minister Arun Jaitley includes the following proposals:

Include debt scheme under Sec 80 C

Amfi has proposed that debt-linked savings schemes be brought under Section 80 C of the Income-Tax Act, according to a report by Moneycontrol.com. “We have proposed debt-linked savings scheme (DLSS) to be included under the Sec 80 C limit,” a mutual fund source who is also in the Amfi committee told Moneycontrol.

Currently, only equity-linked savings schemes (ELSS) qualify for tax benefits under Section 80 C of the Income-Tax Act for an investment limit of up to Rs 150,000 a financial year. By extending the tax benefits to debt-based mutual fund schemes, conservative investors will also get an opportunity to avail of tax benefits.

Introduce mutual fund-linked retirement plan

Amfi has also proposed a Mutual Fund Long-Term Retirement Plan (MFLRP) similar to the 401(k) plan in the US.

“In the last to last Budget (FY17), they (the finance minister) had mentioned about bringing MFLRP under Section 80 C, which the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) had proposed, so we asked the finance ministry to give a clarification in this Budget as to how MFLRP can function,” another source from the Amfi committee was quoted as saying. “If this comes with tax incentive, it will help in channeling household savings to capital markets, especially for long term.”

Click to Read → Union Budget 2018