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Budget 2011: FM For Affordable Homes; Full Tax Rebate To Builders

NEW DELHI, Feb 28: Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee presented Union Budget 2011 in Parliament today.

OVERVIEW: Budget estimates for 2011-12 projects Rs 9,32,440 crores – an increase of 24 per cent.

Expenditure in 2011-12 is estimated at Rs 12,57,729 crores, an increase of 13.4%.

Revenue deficit fixed at 2.3% in revised estimates of 2010-11 and 1.8% in 2011-12.

Tax reductions to result in revenue loss of Rs 11,500 crores

INFLATION: The finance minister opened his speech with reference to inflation saying that food inflation came down from 20.2% last year to 9.3% in January 2011 but it was still a matter of concern. “Government’s principle concern is high food prices… food prices were high for cereals, there was a spurt in prices of onions and milk,” he said.

AGRICULTURE: In what may be a big relief for farmers, the FM said credit flows to farmers will be raised from Rs 3.75 lakh crores to Rs 4.75 lakh crores and the allocation under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana will be raised from Rs 6755 crores in the current year to Rs 7860 crores.

An additional Rs 300 crores will be provided to promote pulses cultivation in rain-fed areas and another Rs 300 crores to promote farm product cultivation.

In joy for anganwadi workers, their remuneration is being raised from Rs 1500 to Rs 3,000 per month. Anganwadi helpers will get Rs 1,500 from Rs 750, Pranab said.

Old age pension to persons of over the age of 80 will be raised from Rs 200 to Rs 500.

HEALTH: 20 percent hike in health budget for 2011-2012.

DEFENCE: The finance minister has allotted Rs 1.64 lakh crores for defense saying that more will be given if required. (11% hike in defense allocation)

Rs 9 lakh compensation will be given to men of defense and central paramilitary forces for permanent disability and on being discharged from service. (Rs 9 lakh disability compensation for defense personnel)

INCOME TAX: No change in tax slabs has been proposed. The tax exemption limit for general category has been raised from Rs 1,60,000 to Rs 1,80,000. (Tax limit enhanced from Rs 1,60,000 to Rs 1,80,000)

No change in tax exemption limit for women.

For senior citizens, exemption age limit has been reduced from 65 to 60. Their tax exemption limit will be Rs 2,50,000.

Apart from this, a new exemption bracket has been created for those above 80 years of age. Their tax exemption limit will be Rs 5,00,000.  Surcharge for companies cut to 5 per cent, from 7.5 per cent. (Corporate Tax surcharge reduced to 5%).

A new revised income tax return form ‘Sugam’ to be introduced for small tax papers.

DIRECT TAX: The FM announced that Direct Tax Code will be implemented from April, 2012 and the Goods and Services Tax Bill is to be introduced in Parliament this year. (Direct Taxes Code to be implemented from April 1, 2012)

Goods and services tax bill in budget session: Pranab Mukherjee

SERVICE TAX: Service tax widened to cover hotel accommodation above Rs 1,000 per day, A/C restaurants serving liquor, some category of hospitals, diagnostic tests.

Service tax on air travel increased by Rs 50 for domestic travel and Rs 250 for international travel in economy class. On higher classes, it will be 10% flat. (Service tax on air travel increased)

EXCISE AND CUSTOMS DUTY: There is a proposal to introduce self-assessment of customs duty wherein importers and exporters will themselves assess payment of duty.

There will be change in excise duty. The standard rate of central exercise duty will be maintained at 10%. A 1% central excise duty on 130 items entering the tax net. Basic food and fuel and precious stones, gold and silver jewellery will be exempted and there will be no change in CENVAT rates. (Excise duty retained at 10%, more items to be taxed)

A new scheme is to be introduced for refund of service tax on the lines of drawback of duties, he announced. Also, capital investment in fertilizer production will be considered as infrastructure sub-sector, Pranab said.

Tax-free bonds of Rs 30,000 crores will be issued for infrastructure development which will cover Warehousing Corporation, NHAI, IRFC and HUDCO.

EDUCATION: A Rs50cr grant is being allocated to Aligarh Muslim University centers in Murshidabad in West Bengal and Malappuram in Kerala. Also, the government has decided to allot Rs 200 crores to IIT Kharagpur. (24% hike in allocation for education)

GROWTH: Predicting growth patterns over the next fiscal, Pranab said the overall economic growth in the current fiscal was expected at 8.6 %, agriculture growth at 5.4 %, industry at 8.1 % and services 9.3 %. In the next fiscal, economic growth was likely to be 9%, he said. (Economy grew 8.2% in last 2010 quarter)

Pranab said India raised foreign institutional investor limit in 5-year corporate bonds for investment in infrastructure by $20 billion.

The government, he said, aims to provide Rs 201.5 billion capital infusion in state-run banks in 2011-12 and Rs 3 billion for 60,000 hectares under palm oil plantation

“I see Budget 2011-12 as transition towards more transparent and result-oriented economic management,” he said adding that stronger fiscal coordination was needed.  He said that corruption continued to be deterrent in the country’s development and had to be fought extensively.  Pranab Mukherjee said the government plans to create a Women Self Help Group development fund with a corpus of Rs 500 crores. There is also a proposal to increase rural housing fund to Rs 3,000 crores. (Low-cost housing loans of Rs 15 lakh to get 1% interest sop)  He also announced benefits for BPL families by allowing direct transfer of subsidies in kerosene and LPG for such individuals.

(Courtesy: Press Trust of India)

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