Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Budget 2011 – 12

As per a report by the financial service company - Citi “India, thanks to its robust growth, is expected to surpass China — and the United States — by 2050 to become the largest economy in the world." However, closer at hand, our GDP is estimated to have grown at 8.6% in 2010-11. The target for 2011-12 is 9%.

The fiscal deficit has been bought down from 5.5% to 5.1% of GDP and is targeting 4.6% in 2011-12. Borrowing plan is pegged at Rs 3.43 trillion, against the expected Rs 4 trillion. But this might be difficult to achieve with the spiraling oil prices. By 2012 there is likely to be a shift from physical subsidies to cash transfers by the use of smart cards issued through the Aadhar Scheme. Disinvestment target is Rs 40,000 crores – Government is to retain 50% ownership.

The budget was on the whole market neutral with the main positive been absence of increase in excise duty on cigarette, and no roll back of the stimulus of reduction of excise duty on automobiles.

The Direct Tax Code will be implemented from 1st April 2012.

Direct taxes – Individuals
1. Exemption limit enhanced from Rs 160,000 to 180,000 for men. Women's limit remains at Rs 190,000 on the lines of the DTC which is gender neutral.
2. Exemption limit for senior citizens increased from Rs 240,000 to Rs 250,000. The age for senior citizens reduced from 65 years to 60 years.
3. A new category of super seniors introduced for those above 80 years. The exemption limit under this category is Rs 500,000

Direct taxes – Corporates
1. Surcharge on domestic companies cut to 5% from 7.5%
2. MAT raised to 18.5% of book profits from 18%. SEZ’s profits to be included under MAT
3. Foreign unit dividend rate cut to 15% for Indian Companies.

Service Tax
1. Continued at 10%
2. More services included in the service tax net including life insurance.

Housing Finance
1. Existing home loan limit enhanced to Rs 25 lacs from Rs 20 lacs for dwelling under the priority sector.
2. Low cost housing loans of Rs 15 lacs to continue to get 1% interest subvention.

Infrastructure Financing
1. FII limit for investing in corporate bonds, with maturity greater than 5 years, increased by US$ 20 billion
2. Tax free bonds of Rs 300 billion to be raised by Government undertakings to boost infrastructure development
3. Tax exemption upto Rs 20,000 for investment in infrastructure bonds extended by one year.

Mutual Funds
1. SEBI registered Mutual Funds to accept subscription from foreign investors who meet KYC requirements for equity schemes.
2. Dividend Distribution Tax for debt schemes:
(a) For corporates: 30% + surcharge for debt schemes
(b) For individuals and HUF: 25% for money market and liquid schemes.
(c) For individuals and HUF: 12.5% for other debt schemes.