In Budget 2018, the government must ensure fiscal stability is given prime importance, says former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan. However, he is not fixated on the exact fiscal deficit target. It is for the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to decide if it wants to bring back long-term capital gains tax (LTCG) in the Union Budget 2018 provided economy is in good shape and FII inflows are healthy, Bimal Jalan told CNBC TV18. The government is in an active discussion on the imposition of LTCG and an announcement could be likely in the Budget 2018, BusinessLine had reported citing unidentified sources. Talking about the agriculture sector, Bimal Jalan recommended Finance Minister that the farmers should be incentivised in terms of investments and fertilizers in Budget 2018.
Minimum support price (MSP) offered to the farmers should be in line with the inflation rate in the agriculture sector, Bimal Jalan said. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is likely to increase the budget allocation for farm education, research and extension by up to 15 percent to around Rs 8,000 crore in 2018-19 fiscal as the focus will on making rapid strides in doubling farmers’ income, sources said. The Union Budget 2018 will be presented on February 1. “There has been a minimum 10 percent annual increase in the budget allocation for agri-education, research and extension purpose in last few years. We hope 15 percent higher budget allocation would be made available for the DARE (Department of Agricultural Research and Education) for the next financial year,” the sources told PTI. The funds will be used on priority areas with an aim to address the country’s key farm sector problem and make rapid strides in the direction of doubling farmers’ income through the use of technology and innovation, PTI reported citing same sources.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s biggest challenge in Budget 2018 will be on the taxation side of both direct and indirect taxes. However, since GST has consumed many indirect taxes and any decisions taken will have to come from the GST council, the changes brought to the direct taxes, primarily personal income tax laws, remains to be seen. With so many changes introduced and implemented by the present government, the biggest populace affected is the average taxpayer. So, measures need to be taken in the Budget 2018 that satisfy the needs and expectations of this group.