Union Budget 2015 speech: Reason to feel optimistic

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Published: March 1, 2015 12:02:16 AM

Speech of Arun Jaitley, Minister of Finance, February 28, 2015

Speech of Arun Jaitley, Minister of Finance, February 28, 2015

Madam Speaker,
I rise to present the Budget of the Union for the year 2015-16.
2.    I present this Budget in an economic environment which is far more positive than in the recent past. When other economies are facing serious challenges, India is about to take-off on a faster growth trajectory once again. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has downgraded its earlier forecast of global economic growth by 0.3%, and the World Trade Organization has revised its forecast of world trade growth from 5.3% to 4%. Forecasts for India, however, have either been upgraded, or remained the same, without downgrades. Madam Speaker, we have also embraced the States as equal partners in the process of economic growth. States have been economically empowered more than ever before and it is my belief that every rupee of public expenditure, whether undertaken by the Centre or the States, will contribute to the betterment of people’s lives through job creation, poverty elimination and economic growth.
3.    In the last nine months, the NDA Government headed by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has undertaken several significant steps to energise the economy. The credibility of the Indian economy has been re-established. The world is predicting that it is India’s chance to fly.

Kuch to phool khilaye humne,
aur kuch phool khilane hai
Mushkil yeh hai bag me ab tak,
kaante kai purane hai

4.    Though the Union Budget is essentially a Statement of Account of public finances, it has historically become a significant opportunity to indicate the direction and the pace of India’s economic policy. My proposals, therefore, lay out the roadmap for accelerating growth, enhancing investment and passing on the benefit of the growth process to the common man, woman, youth and child: those, whose quality of life needs to be improved. This is the path which we will doggedly and relentlessly pursue. As the Prime Minister has often said, we are a round-the-clock, round-the-year Government.
5.    Madam, allow me to describe the changes in the Indian economy since we first took office. In November, 2012, CPI inflation, stood at 11.2%, the current account deficit by the first quarter of 2013-14 had reached 4.6% of GDP, and normal foreign inflows until March 2014 were $15 billion. We inherited a sentiment of, if I may say so, doom and gloom, and the investor community had almost written us off.
6.    We have come a long way since then. The latest CPI inflation rate is 5.1%, and the wholesale price inflation is negative; the current account deficit for this year is expected to be below 1.3% of GDP; based on the new series, real GDP growth is expected to accelerate to 7.4%, making India the fastest growing large economy in the world; foreign inflows since April 2014 have been about $55 billion, so that our foreign exchange reserves have increased to a record $340 billion; the rupee has become stronger by 6.4% against a broad basket of currencies; and ours was the second-best performing stock market amongst the major economies. In short, Madam Speaker, we have turned around the economy dramatically, restoring macroeconomic stability and creating the conditions for sustainable poverty elimination, job creation and durable double-digit economic growth. Domestic and international investors are seeing us with renewed interest and hope.
7.    While being mindful of the challenges, Madam Speaker, this gives us reason to feel optimistic. With all the humility at my command, I submit that this opportunity has arisen because we have created it. The people of India had voted resoundingly for quick change, faster growth and highest levels of transparency. They wanted the scam, scandal and corruption Raj to end. They wanted a Government in which they can trust. We have lived up to that trust.
8.    Our actions have not been confined to the core or macroeconomic areas alone. Illustratively, action has been taken with regard to allocation of natural resources; financial inclusion; health and hygiene of the common man; girls and their education; employment for the youth; improved and non-adversarial tax administration; effective delivery of benefits; investment and job creation; welfare of labour; agricultural productivity and increasing farm incomes; power; digital connectivity; skilling our youth; efficient and better work culture in Government; ease of doing business; mainstreaming North Eastern States; and, reviving our pride in the nation and culture. I am giving the details in an Annexure to this speech.
9.    Madam Speaker, of the work that we have done, I would like to talk of three achievements as they demonstrate the quality and conviction of our government. One is the success of the Jan Dhan Yojana. Financial inclusion has been talked about for decades now. Who would have thought that in a short period of 100 days, over 12.5 crore families could have been brought into the financial mainstream? The other is coal auctions. Earlier, the States only got benefits of royalty. Now, by the transparent auction process that we are carrying out, the coal bearing States will be getting several lakh of crore of rupees which they can use for creation of long awaited community assets and for welfare of their people.
10.    The third is ‘Swachh Bharat’ which we have been able to transform into a movement to regenerate India. I can speak of, for example, the 50 lakh toilets already constructed in 2014-15, and I can also assure the Members of this august House that we will indeed attain the target of building six crore toilets. But, Madam, Swachh Bharat is not only a programme of hygiene and cleanliness but, at a deeper level, a programme for preventive healthcare, and building awareness.
11.    We are now embarked on two more game changing reforms. GST and what the Economic Survey has called the JAM Trinity — Jan Dhan, Aadhar and Mobile — to implement direct transfer of benefits. GST will put in place a state-of-the-art indirect tax system by 1st April, 2016. The JAM Trinity will allow us to transfer benefits in a leakage-proof, well-targeted and cashless manner.
12.    Madam Speaker, one of the major achievements of my government has been to conquer inflation. This decline, in my view, represents a structural shift. Going forward, we expect CPI inflation to remain at close to 5% by the end of the year. This will allow for further easing of monetary policy.
13.    To ensure that our victory over inflation is institutionalized and hence continues, we have concluded a Monetary Policy Framework Agreement with the RBI, as I had promised in my Budget Speech for 2014-15. This Framework clearly states the objective of keeping inflation below 6%. We will move to amend the RBI Act this year, to provide for a Monetary Policy Committee.
14.    The Central Statistics Office has recently released a new series for GDP, which involves a number of changes relative to the old series. Based on the new series, estimated GDP growth for 2014-15 is 7.4%. Growth in 2015-16 is expected to be between 8 to 8.5%. Aiming for a double-digit rate seems feasible very soon.
15.    I now come to the task ahead of us. In respect of social and economic indicators, for seven decades now, we have worked in terms of percentages, and numbers of beneficiaries covered. It is quite obvious that incremental change is not going to take us anywhere. We have to think in terms of a quantum jump.
16.    The year 2022 will be the Amrut Mahotsav, the 75th year, of India’s independence. The vision of what the Prime Minister has called ‘Team India’, led by the States and guided by the Central Government, should include:
(i)    A roof for each family in India. The call given for ‘Housing for all’ by 2022 would require Team India to complete 2 crore houses in urban areas and 4 crore houses in rural areas.
(ii)    Each house in the country should have basic facilities of 24-hour power supply, clean drinking water, a toilet, and be connected to a road.
(iii) At least one member from each family should have access to the means for livelihood and, employment or economic opportunity, to improve his or her lot.
(iv) Substantial reduction of poverty. All our schemes should focus on and centre around the poor. Each of us has to commit ourselves to this task of eliminating absolute poverty.
(v)    Electrification, by 2020, of the remaining 20,000 villages in the country, including by off-grid solar power generation.
(vi) Connecting each of the 1,78,000 unconnected habitations by all-weather roads. This will require completing 1,00,000 km of roads currently under construction plus sanctioning and building another 1,00,000 km of road.
(vii) Good health is a necessity for both quality of life, and a person’s productivity and ability to support his or her family. Providing medical services in each village and city is absolutely essential.
(viii) Educating and skilling our youth to enable them to get employment is the altar before which
we must all bow. To ensure that there is a senior
secondary school within 5 km reach of each child, we need to upgrade over 80,000 secondary schools and add or upgrade 75,000 junior/middle, to the
senior secondary level. We also have to ensure that education improves in terms of quality and learning outcomes.
(ix) Increase in agricultural productivity and realization of reasonable prices for agricultural production is essential for the welfare of rural areas. We should commit to increasing the irrigated area, improving the efficiency of existing irrigation systems, promoting agro-based industry for value addition and increasing farm incomes, and reasonable prices for farm produce.
(x)    In terms of communication, the rural and
urban divide should no longer be acceptable to us. We have to ensure connectivity to all the villages without it.
(xi) Two-thirds of our population is below 35. To ensure that our young get proper jobs, we have to aim to make India the manufacturing hub of the world. The Skill India and the Make in India programmes are aimed at doing this.
(xii) We also have to encourage and grow the spirit of entrepreneurship in India and support new start-ups. Thus can our youth turn from being job-seekers, to job-creators.
(xiii) The Eastern and North Eastern regions of our country are lagging behind in development on many fronts. We need to ensure that they are on par with the rest of the country.
17.    By the time of the 75th year of Indian independence, Amrut Mahotsav of our independence is reached, we have to achieve all of the above, so that India becomes a prosperous country; and a responsible global power. This will be our true and meaningful tribute to our freedom fighters.

Major Challenges Ahead
18.    As I stated earlier, Madam Speaker, I am also mindful of the five major challenges I have to reckon with. Firstly, Agricultural incomes are under stress. Our second challenge is increasing investment in infrastructure. With private investment in infrastructure via the public-private partnership (PPP) model still weak, public investment needs to step in, to catalyse investment.
19.    Our third major challenge is that manufacturing has declined from 18% to 17% of GDP as per new GDP data; and manufacturing exports have remained stagnant at about 10% of GDP. The Make in India programme is aimed at meeting this challenge, thus creating jobs.
20.    Fourth, we need to be mindful of the need for fiscal discipline in spite of rising demands for public investment. In keeping with the true spirit of cooperative federalism, we have devolved a 42% share of the divisible pool of taxes to States. As members of this august House are aware, this is an unprecedented increase which would empower states with more resources. The devolution to the States would be of the order of R5.24 lakh crore in 2015-16 as against the devolution of R3.38 lakh crore as per revised estimates of 2014-15. Another R3.04 lakh crore would be transferred by way of grants and plan transfers. Thus, total transfer to the States will be about 62% of the total tax receipts of the country.
21.    In spite of the consequential reduced fiscal space for the Centre, the Government has decided to continue supporting important national priorities such as agriculture, education, health, MGNREGA, and rural infrastructure including roads. Programmes targeted for the poor and the underprivileged, will be continued by us.
22.    With fiscal space not just reduced but squeezed, I have to meet the fifth challenge of maintaining fiscal discipline. Economic growth this year, at 11.5%, was lower in nominal terms by about 2%, due to lower inflation. Consequently, tax buoyancy was also significantly lower. Despite this, Madam, I have kept my word, and we will meet the challenging fiscal deficit target of 4.1% of GDP, that we had inherited. Madam Speaker, I need to overcome these challenges to reduce and eliminate poverty.

Fiscal Roadmap
23.    I want to underscore that my government still remains firm on achieving the medium-term target of 3% of GDP. But that journey has to take account of the need to increase public investment. The total additional public investment over and above the RE is planned to be R1.25 lakh crore out of which R70,000 crore would be capital expenditure from budgetary outlays. We also have to take into account the drastically reduced fiscal space; uncertainties that implementation of GST will create; and the likely burden from the report of the 7th Pay Commission. Rushing into, or insisting on, a pre-set time-table for fiscal consolidation pro-cyclically would, in my opinion, not be pro-growth. With the economy improving, the pressure for accelerated fiscal consolidation too has decreased. In these circumstances, I will complete the journey to a fiscal deficit of 3% in three years, rather than the two years envisaged previously. Thus, for the next three years, my targets are: 3.9%, for 2015-16; 3.5% for 2016-17; and, 3.0% for 2017-18. The additional fiscal space will go towards funding infrastructure investment.
24.    I am moving amendments accordingly, in the Finance Bill, to the FRBM Act.
25.     Madam Speaker, I want to round up the discussion on the fiscal road map on an optimistic note. While there is a compositional shift, the aggregate envelope for job creation, poverty elimination and building infrastructure is not disturbed; in fact it goes up this year, and every subsequent year, in the same proportion as the tax revenues of the Union, and the State Governments increase. From this national perspective of public finances, not only is the path to fiscal consolidation on track, aggregate annual capital expenditure of the Governments, as a whole, can be expected to rise significantly, by more than 0.5% of GDP.
26.    Madam Speaker, it may be noted that the budget reflects considerable scaling up of disinvestment figures. This will include both disinvestment in loss-making units, and some strategic disinvestment.

Good Governance
27. Madam, Speaker, this Government is committed in its resolve, as Indians, to regain our pre-eminence as a just and compassionate country. Well-intentioned schemes introduced in the past, have often been ill-targeted, riddled with leakages and delivered with inefficiency. The same is true of subsidies. Subsidies are needed for the poor and those less well off. What we need is a well targeted system of subsidy delivery. We need to cut subsidy leakages, not subsidies themselves.We are committed to the process of rationalizing subsidies based on this approach.
28.    We have embarked on that path. The direct transfer of benefits, started mostly in scholarship schemes, will be further expanded with a view to increasing the number of beneficiaries from the present 1 crore to 10.3 crore. Similarly, R6,335 crore have so far been transferred directly, as LPG subsidy to 11.5 crore LPG consumers. I am sure, persons who are better-off, such as those in the top tax bracket, and those genuinely concerned for the welfare of the poor, such as members of this House, will give up their LPG subsidy voluntarily.

29.    Our commitment to farmers runs deep. We have already taken major steps to address the two major factors critical to agricultural production: soil and water. An ambitious Soil Health Card Scheme has been launched to improve soil fertility on a sustainable basis. In order to improve soil health, I also propose to support Agiculture Ministry’s organic farming scheme — “Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana”. The Pradhanmantri Gram Sinchai Yojana is aimed at irrigating the field of every farmer and improving water use efficiency to provide ‘Per Drop More Crop’. I am allocating R5,300 crore to support micro-irrigation, watershed development and the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana. I urge the States to chip in substantially in this vital sector.
30.    To support the agriculture sector with the help of effective and hassle-free agriculture credit, with a special focus on small and marginal farmers, I propose to allocate R25,000 crore in 2015-16 to the corpus of Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) set up in NABARD; R15,000 crore for Long Term Rural Credit Fund; R45,000 crore for Short Term Cooperative Rural Credit Refinance Fund; and R15,000 crore for Short Term RRB Refinance Fund.
31.    Farm credit underpins the efforts of our hard-working farmers. I have, therefore, set up an ambitious target of R8.5 lakh crore of credit during the year 2015-16 which, I am sure, the banks will surpass.
32.    Our government is committed to supporting employment through MGNREGA. We will ensure that no one who is poor is left without employment. We will focus on improving the quality and effectiveness of activities under MGNREGA. I have made an initial allocation of R34,699 crore for the programme.
33.    While the farmer is no longer in the clutches of the local trader, his produce still does not command the best national price. To increase the incomes of farmers, it is imperative that we create a National agricultural market, which will have the incidental benefit of moderating price rises. I intend this year to work with the States, in NITI, for the creation of a Unified National Agriculture Market.

Funding the Unfunded
34.    Madam Speaker, our government firmly believes that development has to generate inclusive growth. While large corporate and business entities have a role to play, this has to be complemented by informal sector enterprises which generate maximum employment. There are some 5.77 crore small business units, mostly individual proprietorship, which run small manufacturing, trading or service businesses. 62% of these are owned by SC/ST/OBC. These bottom-of-the-pyramid, hard-working entrepreneurs find it difficult, if not impossible, to access formal systems of credit. I, therefore, propose to create a Micro Units Development Refinance Agency (MUDRA) Bank, with a corpus of R20,000 crore, and credit guarantee corpus of R3,000 crore. MUDRA Bank will refinance Micro-Finance Institutions through a Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana. In lending, priority will be given to SC/ST enterprises. These measures will greatly increase the confidence of young, educated or skilled workers who would now be able to aspire to become first-generation entrepreneurs; existing small businesses, too, will be able to expand their activities. Just as we are banking the un-banked, we are also funding the un-funded.
35.    A significant part of the working capital requirement of a MSME arises due to long receivables realization cycles.  We are in the process of establishing an electronic Trade Receivables Discounting System (TReDS) financing of trade receivables of MSMEs, from corporate and other buyers, through multiple financiers. This should improve the liquidity in the MSME sector significantly.
36.    Bankruptcy law reform, that brings about legal certainty and speed, has been identified as a key priority for improving the ease of doing business.  SICA (Sick Industrial Companies Act) and BIFR (Bureau for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction) have failed in achieving these objectives. We will bring a comprehensive Bankruptcy Code in fiscal 2015-16, that will meet global standards and provide necessary judicial capacity.
37.    The Government is committed to increasing access of the people to the formal financial system. In this context, Government proposes to utilize the vast Postal network with nearly 1,54,000 points of presence spread across the villages of the country. I hope that the Postal Department will make its proposed Payments Bank venture successful so that it contributes further to the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana.
38.    To bring parity in regulation of Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) with other financial institutions in matters relating to recovery, it is proposed that NBFCs registered with RBI and having asset size of R500 crore and above will be considered for notifications as ‘Financial Institution’ in terms of the SARFAESI Act, 2002.

From Jan Dhan to Jan Suraksha
39.    A large proportion of India’s population is without insurance of any kind — health, accidental or life. Worryingly, as our young population ages, it is also going to be pension-less. Encouraged by the success of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, I propose to work towards creating a universal social security system for all Indians, specially the poor and the unde-privileged.
40.    The soon-to-be-launched Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojna will cover accidental death risk of R2 lakh for a premium of just R12 per year. Similarly, we will also launch the Atal Pension Yojana, which will provide a defined pension, depending on the contribution, and its period. To encourage people to join this scheme, the Government will contribute 50% of the beneficiaries’ premium limited to R1,000 each year, for five years, in the new accounts opened before 31st December, 2015.
41. The third Social Security Scheme that I wish to announce is the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana which covers both natural and accidental death risk of R2 lakh. The premium will be R330 per year, or less than one rupee per day, for the age group 18-50.
42.    There are unclaimed deposits of about R3,000 crore in the PPF, and approximately R6,000 crore in the EPF corpus. I have proposed the creation of a Senior Citizen Welfare Fund, in the Finance Bill, for appropriation of these amounts to a corpus which will be used to subsidize the premiums of vulnerable groups such as old age pensioners, BPL card-holders, small and marginal farmers and others. A detailed scheme would be issued in March.
43.    Madam Speaker, special regard needs to be paid to the population of senior citizens in the country which is now approximately 10.5 crore, out of which over one crore are above the age of 80 years. 70% live in rural areas and a large number are in the BPL category. A sizeable percentage of them also suffer from age related disabilities. Ours is a society that venerates its elders.
I, therefore, propose that a new scheme for providing Physical Aids and Assisted Living Devices for senior citizens, living below the poverty line.
44.    In sum, these social security schemes reflect our commitment to utilize the Jan Dhan platform, to ensure that no Indian citizen will have to worry about illness, accidents, or penury in old age. Being sensitive to the needs of the poor, underprivileged and the disadvantaged, my Government also remains committed to the ongoing welfare schemes for the SCs, STs and Women. Despite serious constraints on Union finances, allocations made this year are as follows:
SC        `30,851 crore
ST        `19,980 crore
Women    `79,258 crore
45.    An integrated education and livelihood scheme called ‘Nai Manzil’ will be launched this year to enable Minority Youth who do not have a formal school-leaving certificate to obtain one and find better employment. Further, to show-case civilization and culture of the Parsis, the Government will support, in2015-16, an exhibition, ‘The Everlasting Flame’. The allocation for the Ministry of Minority Affairs is being protected. The BE for the year 2015-16 is R3,738 crore.

46.    Madam, it is no secret that the major slippage in the last decade has been on the infrastructure front. Our infrastructure does not match our growth ambitions. There is a pressing need to increase public investment. I have, therefore, increased outlays on both the roads and the gross budgetary support to the railways, by R14,031 crore and R10,050 crore, respectively.  The CAPEX of the public sector units is expected to be R3,17,889 crore, an increase of approximately R80,844 crore over RE 2014-15. In fact, all told, investment in infrastructure will go up by R70,000 crore in the year 2015-16, over the year 2014-15 from the Centre’s Funds and resources of CPSEs.
47.    Secondly, I intend to establish a National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), and find monies to ensure an annual flow of R 20,000 crore to it. This will enable the Trust to raise debt, and in turn, invest as equity, in infrastructure finance companies such as the IRFC and NHB. The infrastructure finance companies can then leverage this extra equity, manifold. Thirdly, I also intend to permit tax-free infrastructure bonds for the projects in the rail, road and irrigation sectors. Fourth, the PPP mode of infrastructure development has to be revisited, and revitalised. The major issue involved is rebalancing of risk. In infrastructure projects, the sovereign will have to bear a major part of the risk without, of course, absorbing it entirely.
48.    Fifth, I also intend to establish, in NITI, the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM). AIM will be an Innovation Promotion Platform involving academics, entrepreneurs, and researchers and draw upon national and international experiences to foster a culture of innovation, R&D and scientific research in India. The platform will also promote a network of world-class innovation hubs and Grand Challenges for India. Initially, a sum of R150 crore will be earmarked for this purpose.
49.    India has a well-regarded and world-class IT industry with revenues of about US$150 billion, over US$100 billion of exports, employing nearly 40 lakh people directly. We are now seeing a growing interest in start-ups. Experimenting in cutting-edge technologies, creating value out of ideas and initiatives and converting them into scalable enterprises and businesses is at the core of our strategy for engaging our youth and for inclusive and sustainable growth of the country. Concerns such as a more liberal system of raising global capital, incubation facilities in our Centres of Excellence, funding for seed capital and growth, and ease of Doing Business etc need to be addressed to create lakhs of jobs and hundreds of billion dollars in value.
50.    With this objective, Government is establishing a mechanism to beknown as SETU (Self-Employment and Talent Utilisation). SETU will be a Techno-Financial, Incubation and Facilitation Programme to support all aspects of start-up businesses, and other self-employment activities, particularly in technology-driven areas. I am setting aside R1,000 crore initially in NITI Aayog for this purpose.
51.    As the success of so-called minor ports has shown, ports can be an attractive investment possibility for the private sector. Ports in the public sector need to both attract such investment as well as leverage the huge land resources lying unused with them. To enable us to do so, ports in public sector will be encouraged to corporatize, and become companies under the Companies Act.
52.    Madam Speaker, investors spend a large amount of time and resources on getting the multiple permissions required. We aim towards ease of doing in India. I have myself launched the e-Biz Portal which integrates 14 regulatory permissions at one source. Good States are embracing and joining this platform. However, if we really want to create jobs, we have to make India an investment destination which permits the start of a business in accordance with publically stated guidelines and criteria.
53.    I intend to appoint an Expert Committee for this purpose to examine the possibility and prepare a draft legislation where the need for multiple prior permissions can be replaced with a pre-existing regulatory mechanism.
54.    The Government also proposes to set up five new Ultra Mega Power Projects, each of 4000 MW, in the plug-and-play mode. All clearances and linkages will be in place before the project is awarded by a transparent auction system. This should unlock investments to the extent of R1 lakh crore. The Government would also consider similar plug-and-play projects in other infrastructure projects such as roads, ports, rail lines, airports etc. I am happy to announce that the second unit of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Station will be commissioned in 2015-16.
55.    Madam Speaker, I hope to garner some additional resources during the year from tax buoyancy. If I am successful, then over and above the budgetary allocation, I will endeavour to enhance allocations to MGNREGA by R5,000 crore; Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) by R1,500 crore; Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) by R500 crore; and the Prdhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana by R3,000 crore; and the initial inflow of R 5,000 crore into the NIIF.

Financial Markets
56.    One vital factor in promoting investment in India, including in the infrastructure sector, is the deepening of the Indian Bond market, which we have to bring at the same level as our world-class equity market. I intend to begin this process this year by setting up a Public Debt Management Agency (PDMA) which will bring both India’s external borrowings and domestic debt under one roof.
57.    I also propose to merge the Forwards Markets Commission with SEBI to strengthen regulation of commodity forward markets and reduce wild speculation. Enabling legislation, amending the Government Securities Act and the RBI Act is proposed in the Finance Bill, 2015.
58.    Capital Account Controls is a policy, rather than a regulatory, matter.
I, therefore, propose to amend, through the Finance Bill, Section-6 of FEMA to clearly provide that control on capital flows as equity will be exercised by the Government, in consultation with the RBI.
59.    A properly functioning capital market also requires proper consumer protection. I, therefore,
also propose to create a Task Force to establish
a sector-neutral Financial Redressal Agency that will address grievances against all financial service providers. I am also glad to inform the House that work assigned to the Task Forces on the Financial Data Management Centre, the Financial Sector Appellate Tribunal, the Resolution Corporation, and the Public Debt Management Agency are progressing satisfactorily. We have also received a large number of suggestions regarding the Indian Financial Code (IFC), which are currently being reviewed by the Justice Srikrishna Committee. I hope, sooner rather than later, to introduce the IFC in Parliament for consideration.
60.    Madam, Speaker, this is just the beginning. I have a vision of putting in place a direct tax regime which is internationally competitive on rates, is without exemptions, incentivises savings, and does not realize tax from intermediaries. Such a direct tax regime would match the modernized indirect taxes regime we are putting in place by way of GST, and will bring both greater transparency and greater investments.
61.    Madam Speaker the situation with regard to the dormant Employees Provident Fund (EPF) accounts and the claim ratios of ESIs is too well known to be repeated here. It has been remarked that both EPF and ESI have hostages, rather than clients. Further, the low paid worker suffers deductions greater than the better paid workers, in percentage terms.
62.    With respect to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), the employee needs to be provided two options. Firstly, the employee may opt for EPF or the New Pension Scheme (NPS). Secondly, for employees below a certain threshold of monthly income, contribution to EPF should be optional, without affecting or reducing the employer’s contribution. With respect to ESI, the employee should have the option of choosing either ESI or a Health Insurance product, recognized by the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA). We intend to bring amending legislation in this regard, after stakeholder consultation.

Monetising Gold
63.    India is one of the largest consumers of gold in the world and imports as much as 800-1,000 tonnes of gold each year. Though stocks of gold in India are estimated to be over 20,000 tonnes, mostly this gold


q    Allocation of Natural Resources: Auction of coal, reform in the mining sector to see that resources are used for development of the country and its people;
q    Financial Inclusion: through the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana-making every Indian a part of the financial system;
q    Health and hygiene of the common man: Launched a successful campaign of Swachh Bharat to ensure cleanliness, leading to better productivity and well being of the poor;
q    Girl Child & their Education: Started a drive for constructing toilets in the remaining elementary schools and also Launched the Beti Bachao-Beti padhao campaign;
q    Creation of Employment for the Youth: Launched the ‘Make in India’ campaign and combined it with a detailed process and policy re-engineering to make India a Global Manufacturing Hub for creation of job opportunities for millions of youth;
q    Hassle Free Business Environment: Created a non-adversarial tax regime, ending tax terrorism; Secured the political agreement on the goods and services tax (GST), that will allow legislative passage of the constitutional amendment bill;
q    Delivery of benefits to the poor made efficient: Started direct transfer of cooking gas subsidy on a national scale by use of technology;
q    Attracting Investment to create Jobs: Increased FDI caps in defence, Insurance and Railway Infrastructure; rationalised the conditions for FDI in construction and medical devices sectors;
q    Expanding the job market and ensuring welfare of the labour: Facilitated Sates which work to improve its Labour Laws and brought systemic changes in the area through the umbrella programme of ‘Shrameva Jayate’;
q    Better agri-productivity; more income to farmers: Launched the programme for Soil Health cards for better productivity in agriculture;
q    Energising the country: Brought rapid growth in power sector inspite of uncertainty on the coal front and launched ambitious programmes for new and renewable energy;
q    Technology-from grass root to Space: Launched the Digital India programme to make India a knowledge & innovation based society with Broadband connectivity being taken to all villages, Success of Mars Orbiter Mission;
q    Skill India programme: Created a separate Ministry for skill development which is about to launch a massive programme;
q    Efficiency & better work culture in Government: Brought a culture of responsibility without fear, and with efficiency and transparency; created an environment of trusting the citizens — encouraging self-certification in a number of areas;
q    Red tape to Red carpet: Ending the red tape, created the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in India by reforming and rationalising a large number of procedures, rules and regulations;
q    North-eastern part of the country brought in the mainstream: North East given special priority in the development process by two visits of PM and launch of important infrastructure projects;
q    Pride in the Nation and its culture: Brought out India’s cultural and spiritual strength through UNO’s recognition for Yoga, Namami Gange, Ghat and heritage city development programmes.

The Finance Bill, 2015, proposes to make amendments in the Income-tax Act, 1961, Wealth-tax Act, 1957, Excise Tariff Act, Customs Act, Finance Act, 1994 and Finance (No. 2) Act, 2004. A gist of the main amendments is given below:-

Direct Taxes
2. Rates of tax
2.1     It is proposed that there will be no change in the rate of personal income-tax and the rate of tax for companies in respect of income earned in the financial year 2015-16, assessable in the assessment year 2016-17.
2.2     It is further proposed to levy a surcharge @12% on individuals, HUFs, AOPs, BOIs, artificial juridical persons, firms, cooperative societies and local authorities having income exceeding R1 crore. Surcharge in the case of domestic companies having income exceeding R1 crore and up to R10 crore is proposed to be levied @ 7% and surcharge @ 12% is proposed to be levied on domestic companies having income exceeding R10 crore.
2.3    It is further proposed that in the case of foreign companies the surcharge will continue to be levied @2% if the income exceeds R 1 crore and is up to R10 crore, and @5% if the income exceeds R10 crore.
2.4    It is also proposed to levy a surcharge @12% as against current rate of 10% on additional income-tax payable by companies on distribution of dividends and buyback of shares, or by mutual funds and securitisation trusts on distribution of income.
2.5    The education cess on income-tax @ 2% for fulfilment of the commitment of the Government to provide and finance universalised quality based education and 1% of additional surcharge called ‘Secondary and Higher Education Cess’ on tax and surcharge is proposed to be continued for the financial year 2015-16 for all taxpayers.

3. A. Measures to curb black money
3.1    With a view to curbing the generation of black money in real estate, it is proposed to amend the provisions of section 269SS and 269T of the Income-tax Act so as to prohibit acceptance or re-payment of advance in cash of R20,000 or more for any transaction in immovable property. It is also proposed to provide a penalty of an equal amount in case of contravention of such provisions.
3.2    Offence of making false declaration/documents in the transaction of any business relating to Customs (section 132 of the Customs Act) to be predicate offence under PMLA to curb trade based money laundering.

4. B. Job creation through revival of growth and investment and promotion of domestic ‘manufacturing’ and ‘Make in India’.
4.1    Taking into account the representations received from various stakeholders and international developments in this regard, it is proposed to defer applicability of General Anti Avoidance Rule (GAAR) by 2 years. Accordingly, it is proposed to be applicable for income of the financial year 2017-18 (AY 2018-19) and subsequent years. It is also proposed that the investments made up to 31.03.2017 shall not be subjected to GAAR.
4.2    With a view to streamline the taxation regime of Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs), it is proposed to provide pass through status to all the sub-categories of category-I and also to category-II AIFs governed by the regulations of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
4.3    With a view to facilitate relocation of fund managers of offshore funds in India, it is proposed to modify the permanent establishment (PE) norms.
4.4    With a view to give effect to the provisions of   94 of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, it is proposed to provide an additional investment allowance (@15%) and additional depreciation (@15%) to new manufacturing units set-up during the period 01.04.2015 to 31.03.2020 in notified areas of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
4.5    In respect of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Infrastructure Investment Trusts (INViTs), it is proposed to provide that the sponsor will be given the same treatment on offloading of units at the time of listing as would have been available to him if he had offloaded his shareholding of special purpose vehicle (SPV) at the stage of direct listing. Further, the rental income arising from real estate assets directly held by the REIT is also proposed to be allowed to pass through and to be taxed in the hands of the unit holders of the REIT.
4.6    It is proposed to amend the provisions of section 194LD of the Income-tax Act so as to extend the period of applicability of reduced rate of tax at 5% in respect of income of foreign investors (FIIs and QFIs) from corporate bonds and government securities, from 31.5.2015 to 30.06.2017.
4.7    With a view to obviate the problems faced by small companies and to facilitate the inflow of technology, it is proposed to amend the provisions of section 115A of the Income-tax Act so as to reduce the rate of tax on royalty and fees for technical services from 25% to 10%.
4.8    With a view to facilitating generation of employment, it is proposed to amend the provisions of section 80JJAA of the Income-tax Act so as to provide that tax benefit under the said section shall be available to a ‘person’ deriving profits from manufacture of goods in a factory and paying wages to new regular workmen. The eligibility threshold of minimum 100 workmen is proposed is to reduced to 50.
4.9    Additional depreciation @ 20% is allowed on new plant and machinery installed by a manufacturing unit or a unit engaged in generation and distribution of power. However, if the asset is installed after 30th September of the previous year only 10% of the additional depreciation is allowed. It is proposed to allow the remaining 10% of the additional depreciation in the subsequent previous year.

5. C. Minimum government and maximum goverance to improve the ease of doing business
5.1    Section 9 of the Income-tax Act was amended by Finance Act, 2012, to clarify that if an asset, being a share of, or interest, in a company or an entity derives its value, directly or indirectly, substantially from an asset situated in India, the gain arising from transfer of such share or interest shall be taxable in India.  After the clarificatory amendment, a large number of representations were received from various quarters seeking clarification on certain terms used in the amended provisions. An Expert Committee was also constituted to look into the concerns. Taking into account the recommendations made by the Expert Committee and the concerns raised by the various stakeholders, it is proposed to amend the provisions of the Income-tax Act so as to provide that:
q    the share or interest shall be deemed to derive its value substantially from the assets located in India, if on the specified date, the value of such assets represents at least 50% of the fair market value of all the assets owned by the company or entity. However, the indirect transfer provisions would not apply if the value of Indian assets does not exceed R10 crore. Further, the principle of proportionality will apply to the taxation of gains arising from indirect transfer of Indian assets.
q    the Indian entity shall be obligated to furnish information relating to the offshore transactions having the effect of directly or indirectly modifying the ownership structure or control of the Indian company or entity. In case of non-compliance, a penalty is also proposed.
q    the indirect transfer provisions shall not apply in a case where the transferor of share or interest in a foreign entity, along with his associated enterprises, neither holds the right of control or management nor holds voting power or share capital or interest exceeding 5% of the total voting power or total share capital in the foreign company or entity, directly or indirectly, holding the Indian assets.
q    the capital gains shall be exempt in respect of transfer of share of a foreign company deriving its value, directly or indirectly, substantially from the shares of an Indian company, under a scheme of amalgamation or demerger.
5.2     It is proposed to amend the provisions of section 92BA of the Income-tax Act so as to increase the threshold limit for applicability of transfer pricing regulations to specified domestic transactions from R5 crore to R20 crore.
5.3     It is proposed to amend the provisions of section 2(15) of the Income-tax Act so as to include ‘yoga’ as a specific category of activity in the definition of ‘charitable purpose’ and also to provide relief for activities in the nature of business undertaken by genuine charitable organizations subject to the condition that aggregate receipts from such activity is less than 20% of the total receipts.
5.4 It is proposed to exempt the income of Core Settlement Guarantee Fund established by Clearing Corporations as per mandate of SEBI.
5.5     It is proposed to amend the provisions of section 255 of the Income-tax Act so as to increase the monetary limit from R5 lakh to R15 lakh, for a case to be heard by a Single Member Bench of the ITAT.
5.6 It is proposed to amend the provisions of the Income-tax Act so as to provide tax neutrality on transfer of units of a scheme of a Mutual Fund under the process of consolidation of schemes of Mutual Funds as per SEBI Regulations, 1996.
5.7     It is proposed to amend the provisions of the Income-tax Act so as to provide a mechanism to pre-empt the repetitive appeals by the revenue in the same assessee’s case on the same question of law year after year.
5.8     It is proposed to empower the Board to prescribe rules for grant of relief in respect of taxes paid in foreign jurisdictions.
5.9     It is proposed to abolish the levy of Wealth-tax with effect from 2016-17 (Assessment Year) for reducing the compliance burden on the taxpayers. The revenue loss on account of such abolition is proposed to be compensated by increase in the existing surcharge by 2% in case of domestic companies and all non corporate taxpayers.
5.10 With a view to rationalise the dispute resolution mechanism available to taxpayer in the form of Settlement Commission, it is proposed to provide that while making an application to the Settlement Commission for an assessment year which has been reopened by the Assessing Officer, the assessee can make an application for other assessment years in which the proceedings could be reopened provided the return of income for such assessment years has been furnished by the assessee.

6. D. Improving the quality of life and public health through Swachh Bharat Initiatives
6.1     It is proposed to provide that the donations (other than the CSR contributions made in accordance with section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013) made to Swachch Bharat Kosh (by both resident and non-resident) and Clean Ganga Fund (by resident) shall be eligible for 100% deduction under section 80G of the Income-tax Act.

7. E. Benefits to middle class taxpayers
With a view to encourage savings and to promote healthcare among individual taxpayers, a number of measures are proposed to be taken by way of incentives under the Income-tax Act. The same are enumerated below:
7.1    It is proposed to provide that investment in Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme will be eligible for deduction u/s 80C and any payment from the scheme shall not be liable to tax.
7.2    It is proposed to increase the limit of deduction u/s 80D of the Income-tax Act from R15,000 to R25,000 on health insurance premium (in case of senior citizen from R20,000 to R30,000). It is also proposed to allow deduction of expenditure of similar amount in case of a very senior citizen not eligible to take health insurance.
7.3    It is proposed to increase the limit of deduction in case of very senior citizens u/s 80DDB of the Income-tax Act on expenditure on account of specified diseases from R60,000 to R80,000.
7.4    It is proposed to increase the limit of deduction u/s 80DD of the Income-tax Act in respect of maintenance, including medical treatment of a dependant who is a person with disability, from R50,000 to R75,000. It is also proposed to increase the limit of deduction from R1 lakh to R1.25 lakh in case of severe disability.
7.5    It is proposed to increase the limit of deduction u/s 80U of the Income-tax Act in case of a person with disability, from R50,000 to R75,000. It is also proposed to increase the limit of deduction from R1 lakh to R1.25 lakh in case of severe disability.
7.6     It is proposed to increase the limit of deduction u/s 80CCC of the Income-tax Act on account of contribution to a pension fund of LIC or IRDA approved insurer from R1 lakh to R1.5 lakh.
7.7     It is proposed to increase the limit of deduction u/s 80CCD of the Income-tax Act on account of contribution by the employee to National Pension Scheme (NPS) from R1 lakh to R1.50 lakh. It is also proposed to provide a deduction of up to R50,000 over and above the limit of R1.50 lakh in respect of contributions made to NPS.
7.8 It is proposed to amend the provisions of section 197A of the Income-tax Act so as to provide the facility of filing self-declaration of non-deduction of tax by the recipients of taxable maturity proceeds of life insurance policy.
7.9     Under the existing provisions of the Income-tax Act, an individual buying an immovable property from a resident is required to deduct tax but is not required to obtain TAN for depositing the tax so deducted. With a view to extend the same facility to an individual or HUF purchasing an immovable property from a non-resident, it is proposed to relax the requirement of obtaining TAN by the individual or HUF who is required to deduct tax on acquisition of immovable property from a non-resident.
7.10 It is proposed to provide that donation made to National Fund for Control of Drug Abuse (NFCDA) shall be eligible for 100% deduction under section 80G of the Income-tax Act.
7.11 Details of tax deductions referred to in
para 99.
n    Deduction u/s 80C    R1,50,000
n    Deduction u/s 80CCD    R50,000
n    Deduction on account of interest
on house property loan
(Self occupied property)    R2,00,000
n    Deduction u/s 80D on health             insurance premium    R25,000
n    Exemption of transport allowance     R19,200
Total    R4,44,200

8. F. Standalone proposals to maximise benefits to the economy
8.1    It is proposed to provide for chargeability of interest paid by a permanent establishment (PE) or a branch of foreign bank to its Head Office (HO) and other overseas branches under the source rule of taxation and for treating the PE or branch as a taxable entity for computation of income and for purpose of levy of TDS.
8.2    With a view to providing a uniform method of computation of period of stay in Indian for the purposes of determination of ‘resident’ status in the case of a India seafarer, whether working on an Indian ship or foreign ship, it is proposed to provide an enabling power to CBDT to prescribe the same in the rules.
8.3    In search cases, it is proposed to allow seized cash to be adjusted towards the assessee’s tax liability under his settlement application.
8.4    With a view to ensuring proper deduction of tax on payments made to non-residents, it is proposed to amend the provisions of section 195 of the Income-tax Act so as to provide for enabling power to the CBDT for capturing information about prescribed foreign remittances which are claimed to be not chargeable to tax.
A. Job creation through revival of growth and investment and promotion of domestic manufacturing and ‘Make in India’.
I. Reduction in duty on certain inputs to address the problem of duty inversion:
1)    ‘Metal parts’ for use in the manufacture of electrical insulators.
2)    Ethylene-Propylene-non-conjugated-Diene Rubber (EPDM), Water blocking tape and Mica glass tape for use in the manufacture of insulated wires and cables.
3)    Magnetron up to 1 kW for use in the manufacture of microwave ovens.
4)    C- Block for Compressor, Overload Protector (OLP) & Positive thermal coefficient and Crank Shaft for compressor, for use in the manufacture of Refrigerator compressors.
5)    Zeolite, ceria zirconia compounds and cerium compounds for use in the manufacture of washcoats, which are further used in manufacture of catalytic converters.
6)    Anthraquinone for manufacture of hydrogen peroxide.
7)    Sulphuric acid for use in the manufacture of fertilizers.
8)    Parts and components of Digital Still Image Video Camera capable of recording video with minimum resolution of 800×600 pixels, at minimum 23 frames per second, for at least 30 minutes in a single sequence, using the maximum storage (including the expanded) capacity.

II. Reduction in Basic Customs Duty to reduce the cost of raw materials:
1)    Ethylene dichloride (EDC), vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) and styrene monomer (SM) from 2.5% to 2%.
2) Isoprene and Liquefied butanes from 5% to 2.5%.
3)    Butyl acrylate from 7.5% to 5%.
4)    Ulexite ore from 2.5% to Nil.
5)    Antimony metal, antimony waste and scrap from 5% to 2.5%.
6)    Specified components for use in the manufacture of specified CNC lathe machines and machining centres from 7.5% to 2.5%.
7)    Certain specified inputs for use in the manufacture of flexible medical video endoscopes from 5% to 2.5%.
8)    HDPE for use in the manufacture of telecommunication grade optical fibre cables from 7.5% to Nil.
9)    Black Light Unit Module for use in the manufacture of LCD/LED TV panels from 10% to Nil.
10)    Organic LED (OLED) TV panels from 10% to Nil.
11)    CVD and SAD are being fully exempted on specified raw materials [battery, titanium, palladium wire, eutectic wire, silicone resins and rubbers, solder paste, reed switch, diodes, transistors, capacitors, controllers, coils (steel), tubing (silicone)] for use in the manufacture of pacemakers.
12)    Evacuated Tubes with three layers of solar selective coating for use in the manufacture of solar water heater and system to Nil.
13)    Active Energy Controller (AEC) for use in the manufacture of Renewable Power System (RPS) Inverters to 5%, subject to certification by MNRE.
14)    Parts, components and accessories (falling under any Chapter) for use in the manufacture of tablet computers and their sub-parts for use in manufacture of parts, components and accessories are being fully exempted from BCD, CVD and SAD.

III. Reduction in SAD to address the problem of CENVAT credit accumulation:
1)    All goods except populated PCBs, falling under any Chapter of the Customs Tariff, for use in manufacture of ITA bound goods from 4% to Nil.
2)    Naphtha, ethylene dichloride (EDC), vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) and styrene monomer (SM) for manufacture of excisable goods from 4% to 2%.
3)    Metal scrap of iron & steel, copper, brass and aluminium from 4% to 2%.
4)    Inputs for use in the manufacture of LED drivers and MCPCB for LED lights, fixtures and LED lamps from 4% to Nil.

IV. Increase in Basic Customs Duty:
1)    Metallurgical coke from 2.5% to 5%.
2)    Tariff rate on iron & steel and articles of iron or steel, falling under Chapters 72 and 73 of the Customs Tariff, from 10% to 15%. However, there is no change in the existing effective rates of basic customs duty on these goods.
3)    Tariff rate on Commercial Vehicles from 10% to 40% and effective rate from 10% to 20%. However, customs duty on commercial vehicles in Completely Knocked Down (CKD) kits and electrically operated vehicles including those in CKD condition will continue to be at 10%.

V. Miscellaneous:
1)    Export duty on upgraded ilmenite is being reduced from 5% to 2.5%.
2)    Excise duty structure for mobiles handsets including cellular phones is being changed from 1% without CENVAT credit or 6% with CENVAT credit to 1% without CENVAT credit or 12.5% with CENVAT credit.
3)    Excise duty structure of 2% without CENVAT credit or 12.5% with CENVAT credit is being prescribed for tablet computers.
4)    Basic Customs Duty on Digital Still Image Video Camera capable of recording video with minimum resolution of 800×600 pixels, at minimum 23 frames per second, for at least 30 minutes in a single sequence, using the maximum storage (including the expanded) capacity is being reduced to Nil. Basic Customs Duty on parts and components of these cameras is also being reduced from 5% to Nil.
5)    Concessional customs duty structure of Nil Basic Customs Duty, 6% CVD and Nil SAD on specified parts of electrically operated vehicles and hybrid vehicles, presently available upto 31.03.2015, is being extended upto 31.03.2016.
I. Excise duty structure on certain goods is being restructured as follows:
1)    Wafers for use in the manufacture of integrated circuit (IC) modules for smart cards from 12% to 6%.
2)    Inputs for use in the manufacture of LED drivers and MCPCB for LED lights, fixtures and LED lamps from 12% to 6%.
3)    Mobiles handsets, including cellular phones from 1% without CENVAT credit or 6% with CENVAT credit to 1% without CENVAT credit or 12.5% with CENVAT credit. NCCD of 1% on mobile handsets including cellular phones remains unchanged.
4)    Tablet computers from 12% to 2% without CENVAT credit or 12.5% with CENVAT credit.
5)    Specified raw materials [battery, titanium, palladium wire, eutectic wire, silicone resins and rubbers, solder paste, reed switch, diodes, transistors, capacitors, controllers, coils (steel), tubing (silicone)] for use in the manufacture of pacemakers to Nil.
6)    Pig iron SG grade and Ferro-silicon-magnesium for use in the manufacture of cast components of wind operated electricity generators to Nil, subject to certification by MNRE.
7)    Solar water heater and system from 12% to
Nil without CENVAT credit or 12.5% with CENVAT credit.
8)    Round copper wire and tin alloys for use in the manufacture of Solar PV ribbon for manufacture of solar PV cells to Nil subject to certification by Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY).

II. Miscellaneous:
1)    Excise duty on leather footwear (footwear with uppers made of leather of heading 4107 or 4112 to 4114) of Retail Sale Price of more than R1,000 per pair from 12% to 6%.
2)    Excise duty levied on the value of duty paid on rails for manufacture of railway or tramway track construction material is being exempted retrospectively for the period from 17.03.2012 to 02.02.2014, if no CENVAT credit of duty paid on such rails is availed.
B.    Mimimum government and maximum governance to improve the ease of design business

I. Reduction in number of levies:
1)    Education Cess and Secondary & Higher Education Cess leviable on excisable goods are being subsumed in Basic Excise duty. Consequently, Education Cess and Secondary & Higher Education Cess leviable on excisable goods are being fully exempted. The standard ad valorem rate of Basic Excise Duty is being increased from 12% to 12.5% and specific rates of Basic Excise Duty on petrol, diesel, cement, cigarettes & other tobacco products (other than biris) are being suitably changed. However, the total incidence of various duties of excise on petrol and diesel remains unchanged. Other Basic Excise Duty rates (ad valorem as well as specific) with a few exceptions are not being changed. Customs Education Cesses will continue to be levied on imported goods.

II. Ensure certainty and uniformity in valuation of the goods for the purposes of levy of excise duty:
1)    All goods falling under Chapter sub-heading 2101 20, including iced tea, are being notified under section 4A of the Central Excise Act for the purpose of assessment of Central Excise duty with reference to the Retail Sale Price with an abatement of 30%. Such goods are also being included in the Third Schedule to the Central Excise Act, 1944.
2)    Goods, such as lemonade and other beverages, are being notified under section 4A of the Central Excise Act for the purpose of assessment of Central Excise duty with reference to the Retail Sale Price with an abatement of 35%. Such goods are also being included in the Third Schedule to the Central Excise Act, 1944.

III. Compliance Facilitation:
1)    Online Central Excise/Service Tax Registration within two working days.
2)    Time limit for taking CENVAT Credit on inputs and input services is being increased from six months to one year.
3)    Facility of direct dispatch of goods by registered, dealer from seller to customer’s premises is being provided. Similar facility is also being allowed in respect of job-workers. Registered importer can also send goods directly to customer from the port of importation.
4)    Penalty provisions in Customs, Central Excise & Service Tax are being rationalized to encourage compliance and early dispute resolution.
5)    Central Excise/Service Tax assessees are being allowed to issue digitally signed invoices and maintain other records electronically.

IV. Miscellaneous:
1)    The entry “waters, including mineral waters and aerated waters, containing added sugar or other sweetening matter or flavoured” in the Seventh Schedule to the Finance Act, 2005 related to levy of additional duty of excise @ 5% is being omitted. Till the enactment of the Finance Bill, 2015, the said additional duty of excise of 5% leviable on such goods is being exempted. Simultaneously, the Basic Excise Duty on these goods is being increased from 12% to 18%.
2)    Excise duty on chassis for ambulances is being reduced from 24% to 12.5%.

C. Improving the quality of life and public health through Swachh Bharat Initiatives.

1)    The Scheduled rate of Clean Energy Cess levied on coal, lignite and peat is being increased from R100 per tonne to R300 per tonne. The effective rate of Clean Energy Cess is being increased from R100 per tonne to R200 per tonne.
2)    Concessional customs and excise duty rates on specified parts of Electrically Operated Vehicles and Hybrid Vehicles, presently available upto 31.03.2015, is being extended up to 31.03.2016.
3)    Excise duty on sacks and bags of polymers of ethylene other than for industrial use is being increased from 12% to 15%.
1)    An enabling provision is being made to empower the Central Government to impose a Swachh Bharat Cess on all or certain taxable services at a rate of 2% on the value of such taxable services. The proceeds from this Cess would be utilized for Swachh Bharat initiatives. This Cess will be effective from a date to be notified.
2)    Service provided by a Common Effluent Treatment Plant operator for treatment of effluent is being exempted.
D.    Stand alone proposals to maximise benefits to the economy
D.I    Broadening the Tax Base:
1)    Excise duty of 2% without CENVAT credit or 6% with CENVAT credit is being levied on condensed milk put up in unit containers. It is also being notified under section 4A of the Central Excise Act for the purpose of valuation with reference to the Retail Sale Price with an abatement of 30%.
2)    Excise duty of 2% without CENVAT credit or 6% with CENVAT credit is being levied on peanut butter.
I. Change in Service Tax rates:
1)    The service tax rate is being increased from 12% plus Education Cesses to 14%. The ‘Education Cess’ and ‘Secondary and Higher Education Cess’ shall be subsumed in the new service tax rate. The revised rate shall come into effect from a date to be notified.

II. Review of the Negative List
1)    Service tax to be levied on the service provided by way of access to amusement facility such as rides, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, water parks, theme parks, etc.
2)    Service tax to be levied on service by way of admission to entertainment event of concerts, non-recognized sporting events, pageants, music concerts and award functions, if the amount charged for admission is more than R500. Service by way of admission to exhibition of the cinematographic film, circus, dance, or theatrical performances including drama, ballets or recognized sporting events shall continue to be exempt.
3)    Service tax to be levied on service by way of carrying out any processes as job work for production or manufacture of alcoholic liquor for human consumption.
4)    An enabling provision is being made to exclude all services provided by the Government or local authority to a business entity from the Negative List. Once this amendment is given effect to, all service provided by the Government to business entities, unless specifically exempt, shall become taxable.

III. Review of General Exemptions
1)    Exemption presently available on specified services of construction, repair of civil structures, etc, when provided to Government shall be restricted only to,
a)    a historical monument, archaeological site
b)    canal, dam or other irrigation work;
c)    pipeline, conduit or plant for (i) water supply (ii) water treatment, or (iii) sewerage treatment or disposal.
2)    Exemption to construction, erection, commissioning or installation of original works pertaining to an airport or port is being withdrawn.
3)    Exemption to services provided by a performing artist in folk or classical art form of (i) music, or (ii) dance, or (iii) theatre, will be limited only to such cases where amount charged is up to R1,00,000 per performance (except brand ambassador).
4)    Exemption to transportation of ‘food stuff’ by rail, or vessels or road will be limited to transportation of food grains including rice and pulses, flours, milk and salt only. Transportation of agricultural produce is separately exempt which would continue.
5)    Exemptions are being withdrawn on the following services:
(a)  services provided by a mutual fund agent to a mutual fund or assets management company;
(b) distributor to a mutual fund or AMC; and
(c) selling or marketing agent of lottery ticket to a  distributor of lottery.
6)    Exemption is being withdrawn on the following services:
(a)    Departmentally run public telephone
(b)    Guaranteed public telephone operating only local calls
(c)    Service by way of making telephone calls from free telephone at airport and hospital where no bill is i

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