Saturday, 28 February 2015

Ten Big Highlights From Budget 2015

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday announced a budget aimed at high growth, saying the pace of cutting the fiscal deficit would slow as he seeks to boost investment and ensure that ordinary people benefit. Here is your 10-point cheat-sheet to this story:

1) Mr Jaitley said growth will accelerate to between 8 and 8.5 percent in the fiscal year starting in April. A pace of 7.4 per cent is expected for the current year.
2) "India is about to take off," Mr Jaitley, 62, said early in his speech to lawmakers. "The world is predicting that this is India's chance to fly."
3) He forecast inflation at 5 per cent by the end of the fiscal year ending March 2016, undershooting the Reserve Bank of India's 6 per cent target and creating room to cut interest rates. Annual inflation was 5.1 per cent in January.
4) Mr Jaitley said he would stand by the fiscal deficit target for the 2014/15 fiscal year, which ends March 31, of 4.1 percent of gross domestic product.
5) But he pushed back by a year, to 2017/18, a deadline for cutting the deficit to 3 percent of GDP. In 2015/16, the deficit will be 3.9 percent of GDP, above the 3.6 percent target inherited from the last government.
6) India will reduce tax on businesses to 25 per cent over four years from a current 30 per cent, with a view to boosting spending and job creation, the minister said. Some local companies had hoped that the budget would reduce their tax liabilities to help them kickstart investments badly hit by the Indian economic slowdown in the last couple of years.
7) The Minister has proposed increasing the service tax rate and education cess to 14 per cent from the current 12.36 per cent.
8) The government will abolish the wealth tax and replace it with an additional 2 per cent surcharge on the country's super rich,
9) The budget shows an increase of Rs. 70,000 crore ($11.4 billion) in road and rail investments next year and announced that the government would commission five "ultra-mega" generation projects to end chronic power shortages.
10) The government has added 5,000 crores boost the efficiency of MNREGA, the rural job creation scheme that is India's costliest welfare programme.

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