nsucurrent.com May 20, 2018

Challenges Arun Jaitley Faces In Government's Last Full-Year Budget

01 February 2018, 12:52 | Ruby West

If he gets it right finance minister Arun Jaitley’s last hurrah could be the moment for rewriting the public narrative

If he gets it right finance minister Arun Jaitley’s last hurrah could be the moment for rewriting the public narrative

Despite Prime Minister Modi's assertion to the contrary, the general observation is that the government is expected to present a populist and please-all budget before elections due in 2019. From farmers to students to salaried class to India Inc, all are keeping their fingers crossed.

"To facilitate cross-border trade and investment without the barrier of double taxation, the Government of India and the United States government should reaffirm the shared commitment to improving tax dispute resolution". The budget proposals are also expected to focus on addressing tax provisions that impact flagship programs of the government, such as "angel tax" that impacts Start-Up India, and MAT on debt restructuring that worries the working of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. "The housing finance companies like us have a key role to play in boosting the government's efforts towards affordable and low-priced housing in metros as well as in tier-II and III cities", said Monu Ratra, ED and CEO, India Infoline Housing Finance Limited. Be it Bharatmala Project aimed at boosting road connectivity in the country or development of ports under Sagarmala, . government may take several steps to boost the infrastructure sector, which will not only boost the economy but also help in creating jobs. He said, "It comes at a time when the world is looking at us, be it the global credit-rating agencies, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund which have been very positive in their opinion about the growth of India and the road ahead". Last year, the finance minister had reduced the income tax for small companies with annual turnover of up to Rs 50 crore to 25 per cent. Given the importance of MSME for the overall growth of the economy, this sector needs to stabilise first.

"Tax uncertainty results in an increase of risk when investing in any given project drives investors to either withhold investments or require a higher rate of return to account for this risk, thus raising the cost of capital in the uncertain market", she said.

India imports 80 per cent of its energy requirements, and the government may need to respond to higher crude prices like it did in October, by cutting fuel duties.

REVIVING BANKING SECTOR: Banks struggling with the financial crisis and NPAs have great expectations from the budget. It is believed that there can be some other announcement in the budget for both.

The real estate sector is expecting to get infrastructure status to make "Housing for All by 2022" a reality. Will 2018-19 see Budget for all remains to be seen.

The target Jaitley had previously set out was to lower the fiscal deficit to 3.2 per cent of the GDP in the current fiscal and to 3 per cent in 2018-19, the Budget for which he would present in the Lok Sabha tomorrow.

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