Union Budget: Fiscal prudence need of the hour

Updated: Jul 9 2014, 22:01pm hrs
The Union Budget for Fiscal Year 2015 would be the first non-Congress Budget after more than a decade. On one hand people are expecting this budget to be corporate-friendly as well as focused on reforms for the common man, and on the other hand the global and domestic investors are looking for a boost from the government through appropriate fiscal policy announcements. The steps already taken by the Government, such as increase in railways tariffs, are an indication of walking the path of fiscal prudence instead of populist measures and linking them in terms of fulfillment of economic objective.


If the first set of recommendations of Tax Administration Reform Commission is implemented soon, it can have a major impact on the way the industry and the common man perceive the tax administration in India.

The threshold limit for individual Income Tax exemption will be increased from Rs. 2 lakh to Rs. 3 lakh with a tax rate of 10% for individuals earning up to Rs. 10 lakhs.

There will be an increase in the threshold limit for exemption in investments under section 80C to Rs. 2.5/ Rs. 3 lakhs from Rs 1 lakh, which is the current threshold since long time.

The retrospective tax legislation, the law that refers to taxing capital gain on direct/indirect transfer of capital assets, will be reformed to gain international investors confidence in India.

The government will move towards implementation of GST and DTC. While these will not be possible in this Budget a roadmap for fiscal consolidation is likely to provide the market clues

Tax deduction policy under Rajiv Gandhi Equity Scheme (RGESS) needs to be revamped and made applicable to all new investments for any investor rather than only to first time investors (in equity markets) having annual income of not more than Rs 10 lakhs.


To increase market participation and attract more investments, Securities Transaction Tax (STT) on delivery transactions needs to be reduced from current rate of 0.1% and kept at par with options transactions. Moreover, tax incentives on either the investments in debt or returns will help to boost and turn around the investment cycle.

Insurance & Banking:

The budget is expected to provide more incentive to financial savings which in turn positively impact banking sector, insurance companies, asset management companies and capital markets. Regulators of pensions and insurance could be advised to prepare a framework to induce the players to invest in corporate debt in a bigger way.

Revenue & Expenditure:

Disinvestment target is likely to be move upwards from the Rs. 51,925 crore PSU stake sale target in the interim budget. This could be the right time to offload equity into the market to the extent of 49%, which in turn will bring in additional revenue and help to reduce fiscal deficit burden.

Additional expenditure of Rs. 10,000 crore in the infrastructure sector through promotion of FDI in the defense and manufacturing sectors and taking measures to reduce risks in infrastructure investment is needed to sustain a healthy GDP growth.

By Bodhisattwa Biswas, PGP Class of 2015, Indian School of Business (ISB)