GD Topic: Union Budget of India: What is “Budget” and Key Features of Budget 2020

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Given the importance of Union Budget in context of slowing Indian economy, this is a hot topic for GD and Essay for 2020. MBAUniverse.com has reviewed and publishes here the highlights of Union Budget 2020. But before getting into the key provisions and changes announced in the Budget 2020 to achieve the various economic targets, let us know - What is the Union Budget?, Who presents it?, When and Why it is presented?... 

 

What is Union Budget of India?

Popularly known as the “Budget”, the Union Budget of India, also referred to as the Annual Financial Statement in the Article 112 of the Constitution of India, is the annual budget of India. Budget is presented on the first day of February by Finance Minister of Government of India in Parliament. Budget provisions are implemented from the beginning of new financial year, starting in April. Until 2016 it was presented on the last working day of February.

 

Union Budget keeps the account of the government's finances for the fiscal year that runs from 1st April to 31st March. Union Budget is classified into two major parts: a) Revenue Budget and b) Capital Budget. Let’s understand the difference.  

 

Revenue budget includes the government's revenue receipts and expenditure. There are two kinds of revenue receipts - Tax and Non-Tax revenue. Revenue expenditure is the expenditure incurred on day to day functioning of the government and on various services offered to citizens. If revenue expenditure exceeds revenue receipts, the government incurs a revenue deficit.

 

Capital Budget includes capital receipts and payments of the government. Loans from public, foreign governments and RBI form a major part of the government's capital receipts. Capital expenditure is the expenditure on development of machinery, equipment, building, health facilities, education etc. Fiscal deficit is incurred when the government's total expenditure exceeds its total revenue.  

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Union Budget of India 2020
Union Budget 2020 was presented by Union Minister of Finance Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1, 2020 in Parliament after holding the Pre-Budget Consultation Meeting with the leading Economists and Representatives of Industry and Various sectors to help prepare the General Budget 2020-21.

Union Budget of India 2020: Important Announcements
The focus of Union Budget 2020 is on initiatives needed to achieve $5 trillion economy, job-oriented growth with focus on manufacturing and services, transparency of fiscal arithmetic, monetary transmission, Government’s fiscal prudence and fiscal stimulus, revival of NBFCs and targeting the inflation check among others.

 

The 10 Important Announcements by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her longest budget speech in six years of the Narendra Modi government included key reforms that sought to address both economic and social aspects of the country. She started her address in the Parliament by paying homage to her predecessor, the late Arun Jaitley, and focused on the following three prominent themes of Union Budget 2020-21:

  1. Aspirational India - better standards of living with access to health, education and better jobs for all sections of the society
  2. Economic Development for all - “Sabka Saath , Sabka Vikas , Sabka Vishwas”
  3. Caring Society - both humane and compassionate; Antyodaya as an article of faith.

These three broad themes are held together by Corruption free, policy-driven Good Governance and Clean and sound financial sector.

 

Three components of Aspirational India

  • Agriculture, Irrigation, and Rural Development
  • Wellness, Water, and Sanitation
  • Education and Skills

Agriculture, Irrigation & Rural Development
Sixteen Action Points have been announced for for Agriculture, Irrigation and Rural Development in the Budget 2020

  • Rs. 2.83 lakh crore to be allocated for the following 16 Action Points:
    • Rs. 1.60 lakh crore for Agriculture, Irrigation & allied activities.
    • Rs. 1.23 lakh crore for Rural development & Panchayati Raj.                          - 
  • Agriculture credit:
    • Rs. 15 lakh crore target set for the year 2020-21.
    • PM-KISAN beneficiaries to be covered under the KCC scheme.
    • NABARD Re-finance Scheme to be further expanded.
  • Comprehensive measures for 100 water-stressed districts proposed.
  • Blue Economy:
    • Rs. 1 lakh crore fisheries’ exports to be achieved by 2024-25.
    • 200 lakh tonnes fish production targeted by 2022-23.
    • 3477 Sagar Mitras and 500 Fish Farmer Producer Organisations to involve youth in fisheries extension.
    • Growing of algae, sea-weed and cage culture to be promoted.
    • Framework for development, management and conservation of marine fishery resources.
  • Kisan Rail to be setup by Indian Railways through PPP:
    • To build a seamless national cold supply chain for perishables (milk, meat, fish, etc.
    • Express and Freight trains to have refrigerated coaches.
  • Krishi Udaan to be launched by the Ministry of Civil Aviation:
    • Both international and national routes to be covered.
    • North-East and tribal districts to realize Improved value of agri-products.
  • One-Product One-District for better marketing and export in the Horticulture sector.
  • Balanced use of all kinds of fertilizers - traditional organic and innovative fertilizers.
  • Measures for organic, natural, and integrated farming:
    • Jaivik Kheti Portal – online national organic products market to be strengthened.
    • Zero-Budget Natural Farming (mentioned in July 2019 Budget) to be included.

o Integrated Farming Systems in rain-fed areas to be expanded.

o Multi-tier cropping, bee-keeping, solar pumps, solar energy production in non-cropping season to be added.

  • PM-KUSUM to be expanded:
    • 20 lakh farmers to be provided for setting up stand-alone solar pumps.
    • Another 15 lakh farmers to be helped to solarise their grid-connected pump sets.
    • Scheme to enable farmers to set up solar power generation capacity on their fallow/barren lands and to sell it to the grid.
  • Village Storage Scheme:
    • To be run by the SHGs to provide farmers a good holding capacity and reduce their logistics cost.
    • Women, SHGs to regain their position as Dhaanya Lakshmi.
  • NABARD to map and geo-tag agri-warehouses, cold storages, reefer van facilities, etc.
  • Warehousing in line with Warehouse Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) norms:
    • Viability Gap Funding for setting up such efficient warehouses at the block/taluk level.
    • Food Corporation of India (FCI) and Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) to undertake such warehouse building.
  • Financing on Negotiable Warehousing Receipts (e-NWR) to be integrated with e-NAM.
  • State governments who undertake implementation of model laws (issued by the Central government) to be encouraged.
  • Livestock:
    • Doubling of milk processing capacity to 108 million MT from 53.5 million MT by 2025.
    • Artificial insemination to be increased to 70% from the present 30%.
    • MNREGS to be dovetailed to develop fodder farms.
    • Foot and Mouth Disease, Brucellosis in cattle and Peste Des Petits ruminants (PPR) in sheep and goat to be eliminated by 2025.

Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana – 0.5 crore households mobilized with 58 lakh SHGs for poverty alleviation.

 

Wellness, Water and Sanitation

  • Rs. 69,000 crore allocated for overall Healthcare sector.
  • Rs. 6400 crore (out of Rs. 69,000 crore) for PM Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY):
    • More than 20,000 hospitals already empanelled under PM Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY).
    • Viability Gap Funding window proposed for setting up hospitals in the PPP mode.
    • Aspirational Districts with no Ayushman empanelled hospitals to be covered in the first phase.
    • Targeting diseases with an appropriately designed preventive regime using Machine Learning and AI.
  • Jan Aushadhi Kendra Scheme to offer 2000 medicines and 300 surgicals in all districts by 2024.
  • TB Harega Desh Jeetega campaign launched - commitment to end Tuberculosis by 2025.

Education and Skills

  • Rs. 99,300 crore for education sector and Rs. 3000 crore for skill development in 2020-21.
  • New Education Policy to be announced soon.
  • National Police University and National Forensic Science University proposed for policing science, forensic science, and cyber-forensics.
  • Degree level full-fledged online education program by Top-100 institutions in the National Institutional Ranking Framework.
  • Up to 1-year internship to fresh engineers to be provided by Urban Local Bodies.
  • Budget proposes to attach a medical college to an existing district hospital in PPP mode.
  • Special bridge courses to be designed by the Ministries of Health, and Skill Development:
    • To fulfill the demand for teachers, nurses, para-medical staff and care-givers abroad.
    • To bring in equivalence in the skill sets of the workforce and employers’ standards.
  • 150 higher educational institutions to start apprenticeship embedded degree/diploma courses by March 2021.
  • External Commercial Borrowings and FDI to be enabled for education sector.
  • Ind-SAT proposed for Asian and African countries as a part of Study in India program.

Economic Development

Industry, Commerce and Investment

  • Rs. 27,300 crore allocated for 2020-21 for development and promotion of Industry and Commerce.
  • Investment Clearance Cell proposed to be set up:

o To provide “end to end” facilitation and support.

o To work through a portal.

  • Five new smart cities proposed to be developed.
  • Scheme to encourage manufacture of mobile phones, electronic equipment and semi-conductor packaging proposed.
  • National Technical Textiles Mission to be set up:

o With four-year implementation period from 2020-21 to 2023-24.

o At an estimated outlay of Rs 1480 crore.

o To position India as a global leader in Technical Textiles.

  • New scheme NIRVIK to be launched to achieve higher export credit disbursement, which provides for:

o Higher insurance coverage

o Reduction in premium for small exporters

o Simplified procedure for claim settlements. 

  • Turnover of Government e-Marketplace (GeM) proposed to be taken to Rs 3 lakh crore.
  • Scheme for Revision of duties and taxes on exported products to be launched.

o Exporters to be digitally refunded duties and taxes levied at the Central, State and local levels, which are otherwise not exempted or refunded.

  • All Ministries to issue quality standard orders as per PM’s vision of “Zero Defect-Zero Effect” manufacturing.

Infrastructure

  • Rs.100 lakh crore to be invested on infrastructure over the next 5 years.
  • National Infrastructure Pipeline:

o Rs. 103 lakh crore worth projects; launched on 31st December 2019.

o More than 6500 projects across sectors, to be classified as per their size and stage of development. 

  • A National Logistics Policy to be released soon: 

o To clarify roles of the Union Government, State Governments and key regulators.

o A single window e-logistics market to be created

o Focus to be on generation of employment, skills and making MSMEs competitive.

  • National Skill Development Agency to give special thrust to infrastructure-focused skill development opportunities.
  • Project preparation facility for infrastructure projects proposed.

o To actively involve young engineers, management graduates and economists from Universities.

  • Infrastructure agencies of the government to involve youth-power in start-ups.
  • Rs.1.7 lakh crore proposed for transport infrastructure in 2020-21.

UNION BUDGET 2020

Highways:

  • Accelerated development of highways to be undertaken, including:

o 2500 Km access control highways.

o 9000 Km of economic corridors.

o 2000 Km of coastal and land port roads.

o 2000 Km of strategic highways.

  • Delhi-Mumbai Expressway and two other packages to be completed by 2023.
  • Chennai-Bengaluru Expressway to be started.
  • Proposed to monetise at least 12 lots of highway bundles of over 6000 Km before 2024.

Indian Railways:

  • Five measures:

o Large solar power capacity to be set up alongside rail tracks, on land owned by railways.

o Four station re-development projects and operation of 150 passenger trains through PPP.

o More Tejas type trains to connect iconic tourist destinations.

o High speed train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad to be actively pursued.

o 148 km long Bengaluru Suburban transport project at a cost of Rs 18600 crore, to have fares on metro model. Central Government to provide 20% of equity and facilitate external assistance up to 60% of the project cost.

  • Indian Railways’ achievements: 

o 550 Wi-fi facilities commissioned in as many stations.

o Zero unmanned crossings.

o 27000 Km of tracks to be electrified.

Ports & Water-ways:

  • Corporatizing at least one major port and its listing on stock exchanges to be considered.
  • Governance framework keeping with global benchmarks needed for more efficient sea-ports.
  • Economic activity along river banks to be energised as per Prime Minister’s Arth Ganga concept.

Airports:

  • 100 more airports to be developed by 2024 to support Udaan scheme.
  • Air fleet number expected to go up from present 600 to 1200 during this time.

Electricity:

  • “Smart” metering to be promoted.
  • More measures to reform DISCOMs to be taken.

Power:

  • Rs.22, 000 crore proposed for power and renewable energy sector in 2020-21.
  • Expansion of national gas grid from the present 16200 km to 27000 km proposed.
  • Further reforms to facilitate transparent price discovery and ease of transactions.

New Economy

  • To take advantage of new technologies:

o Policy to enable private sector to build Data Centre parks throughout the country to be brought out soon.  

o Fibre to the Home (FTTH) connections through Bharatnet to link 100,000 gram panchayats this year.

o Rs.6000 crore proposed for Bharatnet programme in 2020-21.

  • Measures proposed to benefit Start-ups:

o A digital platform to be promoted to facilitate seamless application and capture of IPRs.

o Knowledge Translation Clusters to be set up across different technology sectors including new and emerging areas.

o For designing, fabrication and validation of proof of concept, and further scaling up Technology Clusters, harbouring test beds and small scale manufacturing facilities to be established.

o Mapping of India’s genetic landscape- Two new national level Science Schemes to be initiated to create a comprehensive database.

o Early life funding proposed, including a seed fund to support ideation and development of early stage Start-ups.

  • Rs.8000 crore proposed over five years for National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications.

Caring Society

  • Focus on:

o Women & child,

o Social Welfare;

o Culture and Tourism

  • Allocation of Rs. 35,600 crore for nutrition-related programmes proposed for the FY2020-21.
  • Rs.28, 600 crore proposed for women specific programs.
  • Issue about age of a girl entering motherhood - proposed to appoint a task force to present its recommendations in six months’ time.
  • Financial support for wider acceptance of technologies, identified by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to ensure no manual cleaning of sewer systems or septic tanks, to be provided.
  • Rs. 85, 000 crore proposed for 2020-21 for welfare of Scheduled Castes and Other Backward Classes.
  • Rs. 53, 700 crore provided to further development and welfare of Scheduled Tribes.
  • Enhanced allocation of Rs. 9,500 crore provided for 2020-21 for senior citizens and Divyang.

Culture & Tourism

  • Allocation of Rs. 2500 crore for 2020-21 for tourism promotion.
  • Rs.3150 crore proposed for Ministry of Culture for 2020-21.
  • An Indian Institute of Heritage and Conservation under Ministry of Culture proposed; with the status of a deemed University.
  • 5 archaeological sites to be developed as iconic sites with on-site Museums:

o Rakhigarhi (Haryana)

o Hastinapur (Uttar Pradesh)

o Shivsagar (Assam)

o Dholavira (Gujarat)

o Adichanallur (Tamil Nadu)

  • Re-curation of the Indian Museum in Kolkata, announced by Prime Minister in January 2020.
  • Museum on Numismatics  and Trade to be located in the historic Old Mint building in Kolkata.
  • 4 more museums from across the country to be taken up for renovation and re-curation.
  • Support for setting up of a Tribal Museum in Ranchi (Jharkhand).
  • Maritime museum to be set up at Lothal- the Harrapan age maritime site near Ahmedabad, by Ministry of Shipping.
  • State governments expected to develop a roadmap for certain identified destinations and formulate financial plans during 2021 against which specified grants to be made available to the States in 2020-21.

Environment & Climate Change

  • Allocation for this purpose to be Rs.4400 crore for 2020-21.
  • Proposed to advise the utilities to close the running old thermal power plants with carbon emission above the pre-set norms.
  • States that are formulating and implementing plans for ensuring cleaner air in cities above one million to be encouraged.
  • PM launched Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) with Secretariat in Delhi. Second such international initiative after International Solar Alliance.

Governance

  • Clean, corruption-free, policy driven, good in intent and most importantly trusting in faith.
  • Taxpayer Charter to be enshrined in the Statute will bring fairness and efficiency in tax administration.
  • Companies Act to be amended to build into statues, criminal liability for certain acts that are civil in nature.
    • Other laws with such provisions are to be corrected after examination.
  • Major reforms in recruitment to Non-Gazetted posts in Government and Public sector banks:
    • An independent, professional and specialist National Recruitment Agency (NRA) for conducting a computer-based online Common Eligibility Test for recruitment.
    • A test-centre in every district, particularly in the Aspirational Districts.
  • A robust mechanism to be evolved for appointment including direct recruitment to various Tribunals and specialised bodies to attract best talents and professional experts.
  • Contract Act to be strengthened.
  • New National Policy on Official Statistics to:
    • Promote use of latest technologies including AI.
    • Lay down a road-map towards modernised data collection, integrated information portal and timely dissemination of information.
  • A sum of Rs. 100 crore allocated to begin the preparations for G20 presidency to be hosted in India in the year 2022.
  • Development of North East region:
    • Improved flow of funds using online portal by the Government.
    • Greater access to financial assistance of Multilateral and Bilateral funding agencies.
  • Development of Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh:
    • An amount of Rs. 30,757 crore provided for the financial year 2020-21.
    • The Union Territory of Ladakh has been provided with Rs. 5,958.

Financial Sector

  • Reforms accomplished in PSBs :
    • 10 banks consolidated into 4.
    • Rs. 3,50,000 crore capital infused.
  • Governance reforms to be carried out to bring in transparency and greater professionalism in PSBs.
  • Few PSBs to be encouraged to approach the capital market to raise additional capital
  • Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC) permitted to increase Deposit Insurance Coverage to Rs. 5 lakh from Rs.1 lakh per depositor.
  • Scheduled Commercial Bank’s health under monitoring through a robust mechanism, keeping depositors’ money safe.
  • Cooperative Banks to be strengthen by amending Banking Regulation Act for:
    • Increasing professionalism.
    • Enabling access to capital.
    • Improving governance and oversight for sound banking through the RBI.
  • NBFCs eligibility limit for debt recovery reduced from:
    • Rs. 500 crore to Rs 100 crore asset size.
    • Rs 1 crore to Rs 50 lakh loan size.
  • Private capital in Banking system:
    • Government to sell its balance holding in IDBI Bank to private, retail and institutional investors through the stock exchange.
  • Easier mobility in jobs:
    • Auto-enrolment in Universal Pension coverage.
    • Inter-operability mechanism to safeguard the accumulated corpus.
  • Pension Fund Regulatory Development Authority of India Act to be amended to:
    • Strengthen regulating role of PFRDAI.
    • Facilitate separation of NPS trust for government employees from PFRDAI.
    • Enable establishment of a Pension Trust by the employees other than Government.
  • Factor Regulation Act 2011 to be amended to:
    • Enable NBFCs to extend invoice financing to the MSMEs through TReDS
  • New scheme to provide subordinate debt for entrepreneurs of MSMEs by the banks
    • Would be counted as quasi-equity.
    • Would be fully guaranteed through the Credit Guarantee Trust for Medium and Small Entrepreneurs (CGTMSE).
    • The corpus of the CGTMSE would accordingly be augmented by the government.
  • Window for MSME’s debt restructuring by RBI to be extended by one year till March 31, 2021.
    • More than five lakh MSMEs have already been benefitted.
  • An app-based invoice financing loans product for MSMEs to be launched.
    • To prevent the problem of delayed payments and consequential cash flows mismatches.
  • Export promotion of MSMEs:
    • For selected sector such as pharmaceuticals, auto components and others.
    • An Rs 1000 crore scheme anchored by EXIM Bank together with SIDBI.
    • Hand holding support for technology upgradations, R&D, business strategy etc.

Financial Market

  • Deepening Bond Market.
    • Certain specified categories of Government securities to be opened fully for non -resident investors also.
    • FPI limit in corporate bonds increased to 15% from 9% of its outstanding stock.
  • New legislation to be formulated for laying down a mechanism for netting of financial contracts.  
    • Scope of credit default swaps to expand.
  • Debt Based Exchange Traded Fund expanded by a new Debt-ETF consisting primarily of Government Securities.
    • To give attractive access to retail investors, pension funds and long-term investors.
  • A Partial Credit Guarantee scheme for the NBFCs formulated post the Union budget 2019-20 to address their liquidity constraints. 
    • New mechanism to be devised to further this.
    • Government support to securities so floated.

Infrastructure Financing

  • Rs.103 lakh crore National Infrastructure Pipeline projects earlier announced.
  • Rs 22,000 crore to cater to the equity support to Infrastructure Finance Companies such as IIFCL and a subsidiary of NIIF.
  • IFSC, GIFT city: full of potential to become a centre of international finance as well as a centre for high end data processing:

o An International Bullion exchange(s) to be set up as an additional option for trade by global market participants with the approval of regulator.

Disinvestment

  • Government to sell a part of its holding in LIC by way of Initial Public Offer (IPO).

Fiscal Management

  • XV Finance Commission (FC):

o XV Finance Commission has given its first report for FY2020-21

o Recommendations accepted in substantial measure

o Its final report for five years beginning 2021-22 to be submitted during the latter part of the year.

  • GST Compensation Fund:

o Balances due out of collection of the years 2016-17 and 2017-18 to be transferred to the Fund, in two instalments.

o Hereinafter, transfers to the fund to be limited only to collection by way of GST compensation cess.

  • Overhaul of Centrally Sponsored Schemes and Central Sector Schemes necessary:

o To align them with emerging social and economic needs of tomorrow

o To ensure that scarce public resources are spent optimally 

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  • On the recent debate over transparency and credibility of projected fiscal numbers, it is assured that procedure adopted is compliant with the FRBM Act.
  • For the FY 2019-20:

o Revised Estimates of Expenditure: at Rs.26.99 lakh crore

o Revised Estimates of Receipts: estimated at Rs.19.32 lakh crore.

  • For year 2020-21:

o Nominal growth of GDP estimated at 10%.

o Receipts: estimated at Rs.22.46 lakh cr

o Expenditure: at Rs.30.42 lakh cr.

  • Significant tax reforms for boosting investments recently undertaken. However, expected tax buoyancy expected to take time.
  • Fiscal deficit of 3.8% estimated in RE 2019-20 and 3.5% for BE 2020-21.  It comprises two ingredients;

o 3.3% for year 2019-20 and 3% for the 2020-21 budget estimate.

o Deviation of 0.5%, consistent with Section 4(3) of FRBM Act, both for RE 2019-20 and BE 2020-21. (Section 4 (2) of the FRBM Act provides for a trigger mechanism for a deviation from the estimated fiscal deficit on account of structural reforms in the economy with unanticipated fiscal implications.)

o Return path, committing to fiscal consolidation without compromising needs of investment out of public funds, is laid in Medium Term Fiscal Policy cum Strategy Statement.

o Market borrowings: Net market borrowings: Rs.4.99 lakh crore for 2019-20 and Rs.5.36 lakh crore for 2020-21.

  • A good part of the borrowings for the financial year 2020-21 to go towards Capital expenditure that has been scaled up by  more than 21%.

Direct Tax

Direct Tax Proposals - To stimulate growth, simplify tax structure, bring ease of compliance, and reduce litigations.

  • Personal Income Tax:
    • Significant relief to middle class taxpayers.
    • New and simplified personal income tax regime proposed:
Taxable Income Slab (Rs.)
Existing tax rates
New tax rates
0-2.5 Lakh
Exempt
Exempt
2.5-5 Lakh
5%
5%
5-7.5 Lakh
20%
10%
7.5-10 Lakh
20%
15%
10-12.5 Lakh
30%
20%
12.5-15 Lakh
30%
25%
Above 15 Lakh
30%
30%
  • Around 70 of the existing exemptions and deductions (more than 100) to be removed in the new simplified regime.
  • Remaining exemptions and deductions to be reviewed and rationalised in coming years.
  • New tax regime to be optional - an individual may continue to pay tax as per the old regime and avail deductions and exemptions.
  • Measures to pre-fill the income tax return initiated so that an individual who opts for the new regime gets pre-filled income tax returns and would need no assistance from an expert to pay income tax.
  • New regime to entail estimated revenue forgone of Rs. 40,000 crore per year.
  • Corporate Tax:
    • Tax rate of 15% extended to new electricity generation companies.
    • Indian corporate tax rates now amongst the lowest in the world.
  • Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT):
    • DDT removed making India a more attractive investment destination.
    • Deduction to be allowed for dividend received by holding company from its subsidiary.
    • Rs. 25,000 crore estimated annual revenue forgone.
  • Start-ups:
    • Start-ups with turnover up to Rs. 100 crore to enjoy 100% deduction for 3 consecutive assessment years out of 10 years.
    • Tax payment on ESOPs deferred.
  • Cooperatives:
    • Parity brought between cooperatives and corporate sector.
    • Option to cooperative societies to be taxed at 22% + 10% surcharge and 4% cess with no exemption/deductions.
    • Cooperative societies exempted from Alternate Minimum Tax (AMT) just like Companies are exempted from the Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT).
  • Tax concession for foreign investments:
    • 100% tax exemption to the interest, dividend and capital gains income on investment made in infrastructure and priority sectors before 31st March, 2024 with a minimum lock-in period of 3 years by the Sovereign Wealth Fund of foreign governments.
  • Affordable housing:
    • Additional deduction up to Rs. 1.5 lakhs for interest paid on loans taken for an affordable house extended till 31st March, 2021.
    • Date of approval of affordable housing projects for availing tax holiday on profits earned by developers extended till 31st March, 2021.

Tax Facilitation Measures

  • Instant PAN to be allotted online through Aadhaar.
  • ‘Vivad Se Vishwas’ scheme, with a deadline of 30th June, 2020, to reduce litigations in direct taxes:
    • Waiver of interest and penalty - only disputed taxes to be paid for payments till 31st March, 2020.
    • Additional amount to be paid if availed after 31st March, 2020.
    • Benefits to taxpayers in whose cases appeals are pending at any level.
  • Faceless appeals to be enabled by amending the Income Tax Act.
  • For charity institutions:
    • Pre-filling in return through information of donations furnished by the done.
    • Process of registration to be made completely electronic.
    • Unique registration number (URN) to be issued to all new and existing charity institutions.
    • Provisional registration to be allowed for new charity institutions for three years. 
    • CBDT to adopt a Taxpayers’ Charter.
  • Losses of merged banks:
    • Amendments proposed to the Income-tax Act to ensure that entities benefit from unabsorbed losses and depreciation of the amalgamating entities.

Indirect Tax

  • GST:
    • Cash reward system envisaged to incentivise customers to seek invoice.
    • Simplified return with features like SMS based filing for nil return and improved input tax credit flow to be implemented from 1st April, 2020 as a pilot run.
    • Dynamic QR-code capturing GST parameters proposed for consumer invoices.
    • Electronic invoice to capture critical information in a centralized system to be implemented in a phased manner.
    • Aadhaar based verification of taxpayers being introduced to weed out dummy or non-existent units.  
    • GST rate structure being deliberated to address inverted duty structure.
  • Customs Duties:
    • Customs duty raised on footwear to 35% from 25% and on furniture goods to 25% from 20%. 
    • Basic customs duty on imports of news print and light-weight coated paper reduced from 10% to 5%.
    • Customs duty rates revised on electric vehicles and parts of mobiles.
    • 5% health cess to be imposed on the imports of medical devices, except those exempt from BCD.
    • Lower customs duty on certain inputs and raw materials like fuse, chemicals, and plastics.
    • Higher customs duty on certain goods like auto-parts, chemicals, etc. which are also being made domestically. 
  • Trade Policy Measures
    • Customs Act being amended to enable proper checks of imports under FTAs.
    • Rules of Origin requirements to be reviewed for certain sensitive items.
    • Provisions relating to safeguard duties to be strengthened to enable regulating such surge in imports in a systematic way. 
    • Provisions for checking dumping of goods and imports of subsidized goods being strengthened.
    • Suggestions for reviews of exemptions from customs duty to be crowd-sourced.
  • Excise duty proposed to be raised on Cigarettes and other tobacco products, no change made in the duty rates of bidis.
  • Anti-dumping duty on PTA abolished to benefit the textile sector.

Unprecedented Milestones and Achievements of Indian Economy

  • India now the fifth largest economy of the world.
  • 7.4% average growth clocked during 2014-19 with inflation averaging around 4.5%.
  • 271 million people raised out of poverty during 2006-16.
  • India’s Foreign Direct Investment elevated to US$ 284 billion during 2014-19 from US$ 190 billion during 2009-14.
  • Central Government debt reduced to 48.7% of GDP (March 2019) from 52.2% (March 2014).
  • Two cross-cutting developments:
    • Proliferation of technologies (Analytics, Machine Learning, robotics, Bio-informatics and Artificial Intelligence).
    • Highest ever number of people in the productive age group (15-65 years) in India.
  • GST removed many bottlenecks in the system.

Future Aim for sustaining India’s unique global leadership, driven by Digital Revolution

  • Seamless delivery of services through Digital Governance.
  • Improvement in physical quality of life through National Infrastructure Pipeline.
  • Risk mitigation through Disaster Resilience.
  • Social security through Pension and Insurance penetration.

For more details you can refer to the links.

Tips to Crack GD Round
Union Budget is a hot topic for GD Round and has been placed before the participants by number of MBA colleges in India. If you follow the few key tips, you can improve your chances to get through the GD round

  • If you are clear and know the topic well, it is good to be the first to start the Group Discussion
  • If you are not well versed with the topic and feel a bit confused on it, try to gather information from first 1-2 speakers and then place your view point.
  • Since GD is a sort of debate, you should have a clear view point on the topic
  • Use the quote and data, if you are sure of the source else leave it.
  • Make multiple entries using the opportunity to speak.
  • Speak in a firm and audible voice. Don’t shout as it wouldn’t do any good.
  • Even if you agree or disagree to the view point of other participant, add value by giving reasons for it when you speak but don’t simply say I agree or disagree

Highlights of Union Budget of India 2019
When the Finance Minister of India, Nirmala Sitharaman of the freshly elected government was making her way to the parliament, the entire country sat in anticipation of better days coming out of the Union Budget 2019 presented by her on July 5, 2019. The first full time female Finance Minister of India came out in high spirits with her budget speech. The budget speech aimed to touch all the crucial sectors and stressed on boosting infrastructure and foreign investment.  

Union Budget 2019: Highlights
The highlights of the 2019-20 annual budget include:-

  1. The government increased customs duty on gold. According to the Budget proposals, import duty to be hiked on gold and precious metals to 12.5%, from current level of 10%.
  2. Increase in special additional excise duty and road and infrastructure cess each one by 1 rupee a litre on petrol and diesel finally leading to a Rs.2 per litre price increase on Petrol and Rs.2.50 on Diesel.
  3. To provide further impetus to affordable housing, additional deduction of Rs.1.5 lakh on interest paid on loans borrowed upto 31 March 2020 for purchase of house up to Rs.45 lakhs.
  4. Additional income tax deduction of 1.5 lakh rupees on the interest paid on the loans taken to purchase Electric vehicles allowed.
  5. To discourage the practice of making business payments in cash, the government proposes to levy TDS of 2% on cash withdrawal exceeding Rs.1crore in a year from a bank account.
  6. PAN & AADHAR card will be interchangeable. Those who don't have PAN to file returns, can do so by simply quoting AADHAR number and use it wherever they require to use PAN.
  7. Public sector banks to be provided 70,000 crore rupees to boost capital and improve credit.
  8. A new series of coins of Re 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 easily identifiable to the visually impaired were released by the PM on 7th March 2019. These coins will be made available for public use shortly.
  9. Regulation authority over housing finance sector to be returned from National Housing Bank to RBI.
  10.  To further encourage women entrepreneurship, Women Self Help Group (SHG) Interest Subvention Program to be expanded to all districts in India.
  11.  India has emerged as a major space power. To harness India's space ability commercially, a public sector enterprise, New Space India Limited (NSIL) has been incorporated to tap the benefits of ISRO
  12.  The minimum public shareholding in the listed companies to be increased, Government has asked market regulator SEBI to consider raising the current threshold of 25% to 35%.
  13.  TV channel to be launched to promote startups and to help in matchmaking for funds.
  14.  NRIs to be provided AADHAR card immediately after returning to India. The earlier practice was to hand them the identity proof only after the completion of their stay for more than 180 days.
  15.  To resolve the angel tax issue, government decides that startups will not be in any scrutiny in respect to any valuation. Funds raised by startups will not be under scrutiny by the Income Tax department.
  16.  The pension benefit will be extended to 3 crore retail traders under PM Karam Yogi Maan Dhan scheme. It requires only Aadhar numbers and bank accounts. 
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 TDS of 2% on cash withdrawals, exceeding rupees 1 crore in a year from bank accounts to discourage business payments in cash. Read more

 

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