Arun Jaitley will present his last budget as Finance Minister of the 16th Lok Sabha on Thursday, before the Parliamentary elections in 2019. The main focus will be towards taxes — personal income-tax rates, capital gains tax on stock market investments, tax on dividend income, and corporate tax.
However, PM Modi has also assured that his government will take decisions to fulfil their needs and aspirations in Union Budget. Apart from this there may be announcements regarding oil prices, sin tax and airfares.
Union Budget 2018:
# The Goods and Services Tax (GST) implementation has increased indirect taxpayer base by more than 50 per cent with 34 lakh businesses coming into the tax net, the Economic Survey said.
# According to a survey by tax and advisory firm Ernst & Young the Government may tweak income taxand rates in today's budget to bring down burden on individuals.
# Casual workers remained the most affected post demonetisation, with as many as 53 thousand workers losing their jobs in 8 select sector during the first three months of 2017, according to a Labour Bureau survey.
However, the overall jobs situation improved in sectors like manufacturing and IT as employment increased by 1.85 lakh during the January-March period across eight sectors at all India level.
# Demands from activists and economists for a raise in the budget allocation for the government?s maternity benefit programme have failed to cut ice with the Centre. The Ministry of Women and Child Development has not sought any increase for the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), which promises Rs 6,000 to pregnant and lactating mothers for the birth of their first child, in its wishlist to the finance minister, an official said. The ministry has asked for Rs 2,500 crore for the programme, the same as last year.
# More half of the professionals responded to a survey expect a 500 basis points cut in corporate tax to 25 per cent in the Budget which will be presented on Thursday. According to a survey by Deloitte covering 120 professionals across the sectors, close to 50 per cent feel that tax reforms, particularly tax litigation, should be the most critical priority now for government. This is followed by reforms in the real estate sector.
# The government may also provide social security like pension to farmers, said Y Sivaji, an agriculture expert and a former member of parliament. Experts also demanded removal of Essential Commodities Act and bringing all agriculture inputs and equipment under zero per cent under Goods and Services Tax (GST).
# Economic Survey calls for "policy vigilance" in coming year if high oil prices persist or stock prices correct sharply.
# FM Arun Jaitley can enhance deduction for payment of health insurance premium (currently at INR 30,000) and expenses for medical treatment for senior citizens.
# Ahead of the Budget 2018, direct tax collections for fiscal year 2017-2018 show a growth rate of 18.7 percent, up to January 15, the Finance Ministry had said.”The provisional figures of direct tax collections up to January 15, show that the net collections are at Rs. 6.89 lakh crore which is 18.7 percent higher than the net collections for the corresponding period of last year,” a notification from Ministry of Finance stated.