Budget 2019: Nirmala Sitharaman to announce tax cuts Friday?

New Delhi / Chennai: The nation is gearing up for the full budget to be announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tomorrow.

Expectations, which have been on the rise, have been stated by the general public and industries in the build up to tomorrow’s unveil.

However, before the Lok Sabha elections, came the interim budget which saw then Finance Minister Piyush Goyal say “(I) would have done 100 more things but for it being an interim Budget.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi increased the stakes during the run up to the polls at a rally in West Bengal, saying in cinematic terms, “The interim budget was just a trailer, wait till we bring out the regular budget, which will have much more to offer.”

Nirmala Sitharaman has a huge task at hand to try and propose a budget that will satisfy all stakeholders, apart from taking over from where the earlier budget left, including filling in lapses that ensued.

Tax cuts in order?

It is to be seen if Nirmala chooses to go the big tax cut route to please individuals and corportates. The Finance Minister might also look into scrapping 15 per cent dividend distribution tax in order to boost consumption.

Incentives are sure to encourage startups to come to the fore, increase hiring sentiments and more importantly stop decline in savings.

Riding on GST

After three months of over Rs 1 lakh crore in collections, GST receipts fell to Rs 99,939 crore in June. Further, industries, from ones in agriculture to automobile companies are asking for either tax waivers are cuts.

For example, agri-warehousing companies have sought waiver of the 18 per cent GST imposed on such services to boost the farming community. From the auto sector, Mercedes-Benz has been vocal, among many firms to reduce the tax to the lower slab. MD and CEO, of the German carmaker, Martin Schwenk, said, ‘Given the favourable outcome of GST in terms of rising revenue, we wish the government would reconsider the rationalisation of GST rates for cars which currently attracts 28 per cent GST and 17-22 per cent compensation cess.’

His comments come at a time when major carmakers including Maruti Suzuki India, Tata Motors, Toyota Kirloskar Motors faced sales slump in the first quarter. Sales during the month of June did not help matters either.

Slow & fast

The Reserve Bank of India has admitted that economy has slowed, growing at its slowest pace during last fiscal in the past five years. The apex bank also revealed that there is a cash crunch in the system that is hurting the country.

The Finance Minister’s take on the education sector, health sector especially Ayushman Bharat scheme (that received over Rs 6,000 crore in the interim budget), research sector and defence will also hog limelight during the budget.

Nirmala however will have to address, with importance, the financial sector troubles like rising NPAs and liquidity crisis in NBFCs during the budget in order to revive the economy at the earliest. It is expected that some flagship schemes will be announced in the budget.

Your voice matters
The Ministry of Finance had last month sought inputs from citizens on the union budget with a view to make the budget making exercise more participative and inclusive. The comments have been sought on government’s mygov.in portal. Nirmala Sitharaman had showed her appreciation to the suggestions given by various stakeholders and said Ministry officials will take note of them.

 

Meet the team
Nirmala Sitharaman’s budget team comprises Minister of State for Finance, Anurag Singh Thakur and Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian.
The official team is led by Finance Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, Expenditure Secretary Girish Chandra Murmu, Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey, DIPAM Secretary Atanu Chakraborty, and Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar.

 

NT Bureau