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Expectations galore as nation awaits Union Budget

Budget looks bright, nevertheless sounds dubious
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Budget looks bright, nevertheless sounds dubious

Highlights

The Budget halwa is ready to be served to the people. While halwa is a sweet dish, the budget halwa will have a mix of sweet and sour taste. The levels of sweetness and sourness will be known in the next few hours.

The Budget halwa is ready to be served to the people. While halwa is a sweet dish, the budget halwa will have a mix of sweet and sour taste. The levels of sweetness and sourness will be known in the next few hours. As usual, the expectations from the public are high. To what extend it would be met is something that would unfold soon.

The big question is: Will the first paperless budget be taxpayer-friendly as the common man hopes more so in the wake of the impact of the corona pandemic this financial year. The young and the old are keeping fingers crossed and are hoping against hope that the Modi government would provide certain tax benefits to employees.

They are hoping that the Union Finance Minister will announce additional standard deduction of Rs 50,000 from gross income. This will help in better availability of money with the people and this in turn will help in higher investments.

This, experts say, is crucial for the revival of the economy. People want that under Section D, the deduction for medi-claim coverage for non-senior citizens should be increased from Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000 and for senior citizens from Rs 50,000 to Rs 75,000 to help the taxpayer tide over any emergency health crisis like Covid-19.

As far as the industry is concerned, the MSMEs are expecting some tax holiday or tax relief to start-ups so that it will encourage them to hire and retain talent which will further lead to an increase in employment. Similarly, the long-term capital gains from sale of listed equity shares and equity mutual funds up to Rs 1 lakh are exempted from tax. The expectation is that exemption limit would be increased to Rs 2 lakh.

Industry experts believe the introduction of Debt Linked Savings Scheme will help channelise long-term savings of retail investors into higher credit rated debt instruments. A large population of senior citizens in India do not have the benefit of a pension scheme. Industry experts say, by introducing a universal pension programme with senior-friendly tax structures, the government can give financial freedom to that segment of the population.

One thing is certain, the budget will give high priority to R&D in pharma sector and medical infra sector so that the country can be better prepared to handle any future emergencies. The current deduction for capital expenditure incurred towards building and operating a hospital with at least 100 beds should be allowed to smaller facilities as well, to help build medical infrastructure.

The Modi government, which claims to give priority to the progress of villages, the poor and farmers, is likely to give priority to agriculture and rural development in the upcoming Budget. According to the Economic Review 2020-21, the growth rate of agriculture and allied sectors can remain at 3.4 per cent.

The agriculture and allied sectors recorded a growth rate of 3.4 per cent at constant prices during FY 2020-21. The government will also focus on the scheme to provide short-term agricultural loans to farmers at affordable interest rates.

Other schemes of the agriculture sector, including the Prime Minister Crop Insurance Scheme and the Prime Minister Agricultural Irrigation Scheme, can also be given importance in this budget. Along with agriculture, the government will give prominence to the plans of the food processing industry, which will help in achieving the goal of doubling the income of farmers.

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