Chalking out plans

Money matters

Chalking out plans

It was a departure from the usual, and garnished at least with some surprises. One of the most anticipated budgets in recent times, this one rolled out carrying with it the expectations and angst of the common man notwithstanding the initial uncertainity — whether the budget would be announced on Wednesday or not.

      At the end of it, there were some smiles and some frowns, as is customary, but the ‘tax administration for the honest’ initiative has been welcomed wholeheartedly. 

“This is a welcome budget. It could have gone further in many respects (such as reducing corporate tax) but it has addressed the key issues engaging the economy from digitisation, housing and taxation not to speak of social spending and infrastructure,” says Professor Ramnath Narayanswamy, Economic and Social Science Area,
Indian Institute of Management.

“It has addressed farmers, youth, the rural population and public services. It has also provided relief to the urban middle class by reducing personal income tax. It is a step in the right direction,”he says.

The expectations of the startup sector have been high and there are at least some entrepreneurs who are content with the final outcome. “Reduction of corporate tax from 30% to 25% is a huge benefit for younger startups and is in line with the ‘Startup India’ initiative announced earlier that makes starting and running a company easier,” points out Vikram Ahuja, founder, Byond Travel.

    “The increased period for profit-linked deduction for three years, seven years, as against five years earlier, is very useful as startups are not expected to make profits for the first few years. For the travel industry, it is disappointing that the recently announced increased tax slab has not been revised. We are still dealing with India as an expensive destination purely based on our taxation policies.”

“On the plus side, the increased focus on infrastructure development is welcome and will benefit the travel industry tremendously. Focus on digital payments and encouraging online payments (via BHIM and other initiatives) is a huge plus for a tech-first company like ours.”

     He also hopes that the cap on cash deposits creates more transparency in the way travel services and packages are offered since the scope for inbuilt ‘cash-led’ services will reduce.

Many are indeed looking at the travel industry with much more anticipation since Indians are now travelling more than ever or are hoping to in future. Surya Kuchibotla, a marketing professional and travel enthusiast, says, “The new budget translates into more  money in the pockets of youth. The revised tax rates will enable young India to have more disposable income which will improve discretionary spending like travel and lifestyle.”

“Affordable housing is a commendable effort and will make every Indian financially secure. Infrastructure spending will make developing India into a developed India. Also, more airports in the near future is a welcome move,” he says.

“Moreover, the 10% boost in defence spending make our lands safe and competitive in a geo-political environment. Last but not the least, the creation of five special tourism zones and the new ‘Incredible India’ campaign will make us say ‘atithi devo bhava’ again,” adds Surya.

There are those who call this budget nothing spectacular while some find it a balanced one. "Considering the amount of noise and disruption that occurred in the past four months, this budget appears to be a balanced one, favouring growth in many sectors,” points out Shiju Radhakrishnan, founder and CEO, iTraveller.com.

“Allowing continuity in areas like service tax, reduction of corporate tax by 5% will likely increase the competitiveness of SMEs including the startups. However, there are no remarkable items which could boost the prospects of startups, except the overall anticipated growth of the economy,” he adds.

At the end of it all, salaried employees are heaving a sigh of relief as the budget has widened the tax net, something they have been looking forward to.

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