This is a very strong and assertive budget. Emphasis has been on tax simplification, tax compliance and infrastructure spend which is the need of the hour. The levies on corporate taxation, rationalization of wealth tax, incentives by more expenditure towards infrastructure are all positives. Clarity on the rollout of GST is a very Big positive. This will greatly help in reducing tax complexity and multiplicity. Reduction of MAT rate has been missed out. Also the government is relying too heavily on divestment to meet the fiscal deficit – the deficit target is also quite ambitious.
What’s good in this budget are Firm roll out of GST, Reduction in the withholding tax is a positive which will increase the technology transfer to India. Allocation of Rs 1000 crores to help IT Startups is also a very good step. Reduction in corporate tax from 30% to 25% over 4 years, reduction of tax on royalty and technical fee as well as re-assurance on retrospective taxation are positive measures. Rationalisation of certain duties and taxes would have helped in the build-up to the GST regime. MAT reduction would have been a positive step – especially in the SEZ companies as this will help give fillip to the exports. Overall the budget is an assertive step to fiscal consolidation. People had a lot of expectations from the budget – the Finance minister has done a good balancing act. Drawbacks will be seen on how FM manages the fiscal deficit.