Millennium Post

FM’s pro-growth symphony prevents jarring Oppn notes

FM’s pro-growth symphony prevents jarring Oppn notes
The unemployed youth, aspiring small entrepreneurs may find the Budget providing a basket of hopes. The salaried middle class carries more money into their pocket even without lower tax levies.

The states are treated most ravishingly ever. Eastern states, including West Bengal and Bihar, and newly created Andhra Pradesh have more. The give-away list goes on and on. There is little to grumble about the budget, except the rise of service tax to 14 per cent from the existing level of 12.36 per cent that will attract most of the services. Actually, indirect taxes are expected to yield over Rs 23,300 crore. This by no means small.

The additional service tax and its extension to a wider range of areas have spared few. This is not in sync with the mood of the Budget. The only fears are the remote possibility of an international oil price surge beyond $75 per barrel and a real drought.

As if to silence the critics of the Narendra Modi-government on its instant disability to bring back the huge black money deposited abroad, the Budget, for the first time, comes down heavy on black money hoarders by undertaking to enact a law that seeks to impose 300 per cent penalty, 10 years of rigorous imprisonment, making it non-compoundable, with no permission to approach the settlement commission. Non-filing of return or filing with inadequate disclosures, including assets held abroad, will carry rigorous imprisonment up to seven years. A benami transaction (prohibition) bill to curb domestic black money will be introduced in the current session of Parliament itself.

The Opposition, who were personally greeted and casually spoken to for the first time by finance minister Arun Jaitley at the right hand corner enclosure minutes before he started his Budget speech, were almost spellbound after the minister started pouring one benefit after another to the common man and the middle class. Only the rich, having individual income of over Rs 1 crore, are made to pay an additional surcharge of two per cent on the income beyond the amount. Although this comes as a replacement of wealth tax.

In fact, a section of the super rich had asked for it though the salaried rich may have reasons to grumble. But, the super rich living on tax-free dividend income may not have much to grumble about it. Business persons, across industry, generally welcomed the Budget although the market did not react positively since the Budget did not have anything directly special for foreign investors immediately, who control both the key stock indices, Sensex and Nifty.
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