Budget 2019: Bring down corporate tax to 25%

By Amit Gupta

Our expectation from the budget would be that it focuses on policy direction, rather than just on expenditure. The finance ministry should announce the road map to bring down corporate tax to 25% in the coming years. 

Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) can be brought down for units operating in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in order to increase their competitiveness. Also, the commencement of production under the sunset clause for benefits available to these units under Section 10 AA of Income Tax Act be extended till 31st March, 2022.

A recent Parliamentary standing committee report recently highlighted the diversion of NCEF for GST compensation fund and it recommended that NCEF should be utilised exclusively for promoting domestic manufacturing of renewable energy projects in order to promote clean energy solutions. Hence, we expect the Ministry of Finance to act on the standing committee recommendation and utilise the funds to promote domestic manufacturing in the sector. 

Rooftop solar installations using indigenously manufactured solar modules should be made mandatory for all Government buildings, school & hospitals. A dedicated agency to provide insurance cover for solar power installations at an affordable price be established, this will promote the adoption of clean energy. Super-deductions of 200% of the R&D expenditure for new and clean solar technology development (which could be a part of the offset / Make in India arrangement) should be allowed. India already offers super-deduction of 200% of the R&D expenditure in emerging areas such as biotechnology which has led to the rapid growth of Indian biotech and pharma companies.

 An additional budget should be allocated to strengthen grid infrastructure to ensure smooth RE integration and reduction in grid/transmission downtime. 

A special fund is allocated for the development of EV battery ecosystem. 

A cess on diesel should be imposed and the same should be used to expand EV infrastructure in the country. Under CSR obligations for the next 10 years, the amount spent by Companies to put up captive solar power plants should be allowed as deduction.

Amit Gupta is Director (Legal & Corporate Affairs) in Vikram Solar.

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