Budget 2017: Arun Jaitley gets thumps up for tax cut

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley arrives at Parliament to present the Union Budget 2017-18 in the Lok Sabha, in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI Photo Vijay Verma (PTI2_1_2017_000140B)

New Delhi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s Union Budget rose to the expectations of the people of a major tax relief after the demonetisation move. And with Assembly polls in five states fast approaching, the finance minister didn’t let down people announcing a big cut in Income tax rate and allocating a major chunk of the proposed expenditure for rural financing and infrastructural development. For individual tax payers, the tax rate for the slab between Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 5 lakh was cut to 5 per cent from 10 per cent, while a 10-per cent surcharge has been kept for those with the annual income of between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 1 crore. Small and medium enterprises with a turnover of less than Rs 50 crore will also have a lower 25 per cent tax rate now against the earlier 30 per cent. The tax rates for larger corporates have been largely left untouched.

In a big move to bring transparency in political funding, Jaitley, in his fourth budget, placed a cap of Rs 2,000 on the donation received by any political party from one source in cash. As of now, the limit to accept political donations in cash is Rs 20,000. The minister said that political parties will be entitled to receive donations by cheque or digital mode from their donors.

Seeking to improve the ease of doing business, Jaitley in his budget speech said that the government has abolished FIPB and had decided that foreign investment proposals requiring government approval would be cleared by the ministries concerned. He further promised to liberalise further FDI policy in more sectors in due course and also assured a law to confiscate the assets of fugitive economic offenders.