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Union Budget 2017: TOP 10 Important features to look out for

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  • Union Budget 2017: TOP 10 Important features to look out for

    The impact of note ban on economic growth, fiscal deficit, and jobs and taxes are set to feature prominently in Arun Jaitley's budget speech of 2017. With just 6 days to go for the annual financial plan presentation, finance minister Arun Jaitley may come up with various amendments in various clauses related to any number of Acts, but what is more important is the fact that individuals should get benefited the most.

    Here are the pre-budget expectations from Arun Jaitley's budget 2017 speech:

    1. Demonetisation

    Amid protests against the sudden s****ping of old currency notes, the government is believed to be giving final touches to a comprehensive strategy to discourage people from using cash transactions. As such there are expectations that finance minister Arun Jaitley will announce tax rebates and incentives to encourage transactions through cards and digital means. Some experts believe that the finance minister may also announce measures to tax cash withdrawals from banks above a threshold.

    2. Goods and Services Tax (GST)

    With the original deadline of April rolling out the new indirect tax system looks missed for now, finance minister Arun Jaitley is widely expected to announce Goods and Services Tax (GST)'s implementation schedule in the upcoming budget 2017-18. Once implemented, GST, billed as India's most ambitious reforms move, will stitch together a common national market, dismantle fiscal barriers among states and consolidate a patchwork of local and central duties such as excise into a single levy.

    3. Income Tax

    After GST, direct tax reforms may also be in focus in this year's budget. Expect big announcements in the income tax slabs and rates. Finance minister Arun Jaitley may raise tax breaks offered on money parked in fixed deposits, insurance premium and mutual funds from Rs 1,50,000 to Rs 2,00,000 a year under the popular Section 80C scheme. The move is aimed to encourage people to move their extra money into the financial system, instead of stocking up cash.

    4. Corporate Tax

    The government is expected to cut the corporate income tax rates by 1.25-1.5 per cent to 28.75-28.5 per cent in the budget 2017, but will likely remove exemptions that allow companies to cut down on their effective tax payments. The move, which the finance minister had first announced in 2015, will signal the beginning of reforms in India's complex tax systems that had become mired in layers of exemption and sops over the years, making it difficult to administer.

    5. Railways

    The government has okayed plans to merge the railway budget from 2017. The government, with the move, has indicated its intentions to walk the talk on freeing the state-owned behemoth from having to deal with stressed finances and political populism. A combined budget could imply that the Indian Railways can avoid setting aside funds for dividends of about Rs 10,000 crore to the government every year. But passengers may have to shell out more for travelling by train as the railway ministry may impose a specific cess on train tickets to fund the Rs 1.20 lakh crore safety fund-- Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh.

    6. Agriculture

    There are expectations that finance minister Arun Jaitley will announce a series of measures to minimise the demonetisation pain for farmers in Budget 2017. The November 8 decision have left farmers with no cash to buy seeds in the middle of the sowing season. However, official data, suggests that sowing has been more in 2016 compared to the previous year. The government has already waived of interest for 60 days on existing farm loans for the latest kharif and rabi crops.

    7. Manufacturing

    The government may propose a bundle of tax incentives for the labour-intensive leather, gems and jewellery sectors as part of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's signature "Make in India" initiative to boost manufacturing, create jobs and revive exports. The desi version of China-style mega industrial cities across the country equipped with production units, public utilities, residential areas, schools and hospitals may likely get a big fiscal boost in upcoming budget 2017.

    8. Foreign Inflows

    The finance minister may put forward a proposal for creating a favourable environment for foreign direct investors (FDI), venture capitalists (VCs), private equity (PE) firms and angel investors as a part the broad strategy to ease fund flow to start-ups and small businesses.

    9. Startups

    The Union Budget 2017 may have some good news for the start-ups too. Finance minister Arun Jaitley is expected to announce initiatives to empower the country's start-ups, including widening of the tax-free regime to five years from three years and faster procedural clearances. The move to extend the tax holiday from three years to five years, likely to be announced in budget 2017, will come a year after PM Modi launched the 'Start-Up India' programme in the national capital.

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