Dispelling all notions about the NDA government being a
‘Suit boot ki Sarkar’ in his third Budget, government dedicated it to
farmers, the poor and vulnerable sections of society.
Union budget also raised taxes on the incomes of the
super-rich and introducing new cesses on services and cars to fund farmer
welfare projects and infrastructure, respectively.
Mr. Jaitley’s budget for 2016-17 attempted to address the
distress in the rural economy that has hit demand creation and new
investments, with enhanced outlays of nearly Rs. 2.75 lakh crore for
programmes in the social sector, farmer welfare and the rural sector.
FM said “Our initiatives in the last 21 months have not
only placed the economy on a faster growth trajectory but have bridged the
trust deficit, created by the previous Government.”
He also said government had to work in an unsupportive
global environment, adverse weather conditions and an obstructive political
Despite higher expenditure owing to the 7th Central Pay
Commission and the one rank one pension norm for defence forces, the Finance
Minister chose to stick to the fiscal consolidation road map he outlined
last year and set a 3.5 per cent of GDP target for 2016-17.
The government will infuse a capital of Rs.25,000 crore
this financial year into state- owned banks, which are reeling under the
burden of bad loans.
The government has decided to open a one-time, four-month
compliance window for domestic black money-holders.
This gesture is intended to help them come clean by
paying tax and penalty of 45 percent.
Capability of the tax department to detectevasion had
improved be- cause of increased access to information and the availability
of technology-driven analytical tools to process such information.
The compliance window will enable one to declare
undisclosed income or income represented in the form ofany asset, and clear
up past tax transgressions by paying tax at 30 per cent, a surcharge of 7.5
per cent and a penalty of 7.5 per cent.
The surcharge at 7.5 per cent will be called Krishi
Kalyan surcharge, and the money thus raised will be used for agriculture and
There will be no scrutiny of money declared, either under
the Income-Tax Act or the Wealth Tax Act.
And the declarants will have immunity from prosecution.
They will also get immunity from the Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act,
1988, subject tocertain terms.
The compliance window, named Income Disclosure Scheme,
will open on June 1. It will be open till September 30.
The Supreme Court on Monday admitted a petition filed by
a woman to declare the practice of triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy
under Muslim personal laws as illegal, unconstitutional, and violative of
the rights to equality, dignity, life and freedom of religion under the
The petitioner said “Practice of polygamy is not an
integral part of Islam, and polygamy has been recognised as injurious to
pub- lic morals.”
The practices under challenge, which practically treat
women like chattel belonging to men, are neither harmonious with the modern
principles of human rights and gender equality nor an integral part of
Ms. Bano said many Islamic nations, including Saudi
Arabia, Pakistan, and Iraq, have banned or restricted such practices, while
they continue to vex not only Indian Muslim women but also the society at
large, not- withstanding that the Muslim community of India has itself been
clamouring for reform and ban of oppressive practices that have no basis in
Islam or the Holy Quran.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced several proposals
in the Union Budget 2016-17 to boost the government’s Make in India (MII)
To help start-ups innovate, generate employment,
Mr.Jaitley proposed to back them through 100 per cent deduction of profits
for three out of five years for start-ups set up during April 2016 to March
In another initiative, Mr. Jaitley chose to follow
advanced nations and proposed to grant foreign investors ‘Residency Status’
subject to certain riders.
Currently, these investors are granted business visa only
up to five years at a time.
To strengthen the MII initiative, there was an allocation
of Rs.1,804 crore towards the scheme for Investment Promotion and Amended
Technology Upgradation Fund.
Changes were proposed in Customs and Excise Duty rates on
certain inputs, raw materials, intermediaries/components and other goods
while several procedures were simplified.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a record
budgetary allocation of Rs. 2.21 lakh crore for infrastructure sector, in a
crucial move to revive investments in the sector with the participation of
the private players.
The roads sector alone has been allocated Rs. 97,000
crore as the government plans to award 10,000 kilometres of new road
projects in FY17, including Rs. 19,000 crore earmarked for rural roads under
the Pradhanmantri Gram Sadak Yojna.
To facilitate ease of doing business for foreign
investors and their domestic recipients, the Union Budget 2016-17 has
proposed liberalisation of foreign direct investment (FDI) norms in a host
These include insurance, pension, Asset Reconstruction
Companies (ARC), stock exchanges, marketing of food products, listed Central
Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE) except banks and areas governed by
financial sector regulators, falling beyond the 18 specified NBFC
This the second time such ‘big bang’ FDI reforms are
being announced by the government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In November last year, the Centre had similarly eased
norms across 15 sectors, including defence, private sector banking,
construction, single brand retail, broadcasting and civil aviation to boost
investment sentiment and attract more foreign capital into the country.
Following these reforms and the Make in India initiative,
FDI during April-December 2015 in FY’16 was up 40 per cent year-on-year to
To help banks and financial institutions (FI) address the
problem of huge bad loans, the FY’17 Budget has proposed 100 per cent FDI in
ARCs through automatic route.
ARCs play a crucial role in resolution of non-performing
assets by acquiring them from banks and FIs.
The FY’17 Budget also proposed that foreign portfolio
investors will be allowed up to 100 per cent of each tranche in securities
receipts issued by ARCs subject to sectoral caps.
The government has also proposed to allow 100 per cent
FDI through FIPB route in marketing of food products produced and
manufactured in India.