10:25 (IST)

Budget 2021 LATEST Updates

Nirmala Sitharaman, Anurag Thakur reach Parliament

Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur and Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have reached the Parliament building. The Budget Document will now be presented before the Union Cabinet for its approval.

10:16 (IST)

Budget 2021 LATEST Updates

Centre gets a breather as GST revenue breaches Rs 1 lakh crore mark for fourth month in row

Ahead of the budget day, there was some cheer for the finance minister as the Centre clocked GST revenue for the month of January 2021 at nearly Rs 1.20 lakh crore, the highest since the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax regime and crossing the Rs 1 lakh crore benchmark for the fourth consecutive month. This figure is reportedly higher than months which had the Diwali and Navratri effect as well. While this suggests that the pandemic-hit recovery is slowly recovering, the finance minister’s job will be to prioritise the segment that she feels needs immediate government intervention. With slowdown in jobs growth, real income, slump in private investments and collapse in the informal economy, her balancing-act game needs to be top notch.

10:12 (IST)

Budget 2021 LATEST Updates

Will Nirmala Sitharaman implement ‘tax democracy’?

Nirmala Sitharaman has little legroom to play with while delivering the Union budget since the pandemic has ravaged the exchequer. The easier way out for the Union finance minister would be to slap another cess or surcharge on the salaried taxpayers and increase their already overburdened shoulders.

Instead, Sitharaman would do well to take the call and implement what senior journalist Monika Halan calls “tax democracy” by bringing under the income tax net constituents that have escaped paying income tax for decades. One of the starting points could be taxing the super rich segment of farming community but this is sure to be a fair, but politically contentious move. Will the FM bite the bullet?

10:07 (IST)

Budget 2021 LATEST Updates

Ganesh Subramanian, Chief Financial Officer, Tally Solutions

To realise the potential of the software product industry in an optimal manner, there is a need for a framework to work in synergy and ease in certain taxation issues followed by the software product industry. Presently, under section 194 J of the Income Tax Act, TDS @ 10% is applicable on software purchase. The income tax does not make difference in software product and software service. Software products are classified as Goods. Being a Goods, only software product attracts TDS and there are no other tradeable goods that come under the purview of 10% TDS.

Particularly, for new start up and new ventures, when they are already struggling for working capital, this TDS become additional cash outgo, causing cash crunch to the Industry. We expect that Government either remove this TDS or at least reduce it to 2 percent.

There is big dilemma that exists in the industry about using of HSN/SAC code for software products, especially in case of software products delivered through electronic medium and software as a service (Sass), hosted on cloud platform. The government may clarify the same.

09:46 (IST)

Budget 2021 LATEST Updates

Sitharaman to present first-ever paperless Budget today

Breaking from tradition since Independence, the Union Budget will not be printed this year due to COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the FM had ditched the leather briefcase for a traditional “bahi khaata” — or red, handmade ledger — saying that it was “high time we move on from the British hangover, to do something on our own”.

09:41 (IST)

Budget 2021 LATEST Updates

Farm innovation fund needed to support agri-tech solutions, startups, boost innovation

The agriculture sector accounts for close to 16 percent of the country’s GDP, uses nearly half the available land, consumes around 80 percent of the freshwater resources, and engages almost 50 percent of the country’s workforce. Approximately 70 percent of the rural households still depend primarily on agriculture, with close to 80 percent of farmers being small and marginal. Even though the recent COVID-19 pandemic has posed challenges for most sectors of the Indian economy, agriculture and allied activities demonstrated extraordinary resilience. The available statistics amplify the potential of India’s agriculture sector to aid fiscal growth. However, adherence to a traditional approach and unscientific farming methods still loom large over the agricultural space.

Budget 2021 is a window for the policymakers to actively identify and poise volumetric targets with sustainability while moving up the value chain to enhance farmer and national income.

Agricultural productivity through micro-irrigation

As of 2020, out of the 141 million hectares of cultivated land, 51 percent of the land is under irrigation and within this, only about 16 percent (11 million hectares) have access to modern irrigation technology. The government data suggest that in the year 2019-20, only 11.72 lakh hectares have been covered under micro-irrigation.  The current target is to popularize the use of micro-irrigation technology by covering additional 10 million hectares of land in five years. To achieve this ambitious target and contribute towards making the sector self-reliant, it is imperative that the government places a mechanism to ensure a smooth flow of funds, thereby ensuring adequate utilisation by the end-beneficiary.

Read more here…

09:32 (IST)

Budget 2021 LATEST Updates

Sensex opens 400 points higher, Nifty around 13,750

Indian indices opened nearly a percent higher on Monday as investors kept an eye on the Budget 2021 to be tabled in the parliament by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman later today.

At 9.18 am, the Sensex was up 458 points at 46,744 while the Nifty rose 115 points to 13,749, CNBC reported.

Broader markets were also in the green but underperformed benchmarks with the midcap index up 0.4 percent and smallcap index up 0.3 percent. On the Nifty50 index, IndusInd Bank, ICICI Bank, Titan, Hero Moto, and IOC were the top gainers while Cipla, UPL, Dr Reddy’s, Tech Mahindra and Axis Bank led the losses. Among sectors, The Nifty Bank and Fin Services indices rose the most, up 1.4 percent each while Nifty Auto and Nifty FMCG added 0.8 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively. However, the IT index and pharma index capped some gains. The Nifty IR index fell 0.2 percent while Nifty Pharma was down 1.6 percent.

09:28 (IST)

Budget 2021 LATEST Updates

Finance Ministry team leave North Block

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and MoS Finance Anurag Thakur leave from Ministry of Finance. She will present the UnionBudget 2021-22 at Parliament on Monday.

For the first time ever, the Budget will be paperless this year due to COVID-19 pandemic. It will be available for all as a soft copy, online.

09:07 (IST)

Budget 2021 LATEST Updates

Nirmala Sitharaman arrives at the Ministry of Finance

09:04 (IST)

Budget 2021 LATEST Updates

A sneak peek to how the day will unfold today:

Here’s a rough schedule of how things may unfold on Monday based on the practices so far. However, this is subject to changes due to COVID-19 safety protocols among other factors.

1) Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her team will leave the North Block
2) The finance ministry team will call on President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and brief him about what’s in store
3) Sitharaman will then head to Parliament
4) Cabinet will meet to pass the Budget at 10.15 am
5) At 11am, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla will convene the House sitting and invite the finance minister to present the Union Budget
6) The finance minister will address the House
7) The House will be adjourned for the day by the Lok Sabha Speaker
8) Prime Minister Narendra Modi may deliver a brief address to the nation and talk about the Budget. This has been the practice for the last few years

08:51 (IST)

Budget 2021 LATEST Updates

After pandemic disruption, time to focus on demand side of economy

Whichever way one may look at, the priority of FY 2022 Union Budget has to be and would be on getting the economy back on track. However, it is easier said than done, given the challenges and disruptions caused by the COVID-19
pandemic.

The FY 2021 Budget was presented well before the COVID-19 related disruption occurred. However, even at that time government finances were constrained and the government used the escape clause available under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act to let the fiscal deficit of FY 2020 slip by 50 bp to 3.8 percent of GDP and budgeted the fiscal deficit for FY 2021 at 3.5 percent of GDP.

The budgeted deficit of 3.5 percent for FY 2021 was based on nominal GDP growth of 10.0 percent.

Read more here…

08:49 (IST)

Budget 2021 LATEST Updates

FM aims to revive pandemic-hit economy, raise spending on key sectors

Experts say Nirmala Sitharaman could unveil plans to shift the economy from survival mode to revival to meet projections of 11 percent growth rate in the next financial year that starts April, following a forecasted 7.7 percent contraction in the current fiscal.

08:29 (IST)

Budget 2021 LATEST Updates

Ninth Budget under NDA govt to focus on healthcare and infrastructure

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had earlier said her government’s focus will be on economic growth by raising spending on sectors like healthcare and infrastructure amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The budget, the ninth under the NDA government, is also widely expected to focus on increasing spending on creation of jobs and rural development, generous allocations for development schemes, handing more money to the common man and easing rules to attract foreign investments.

08:05 (IST)

Budget 2021 LATEST Updates

Reintroduce single tax slab structure, raise minimum taxable income to Rs 7.5 lakh

The pandemic and the subsequent Work From Home policy has led to some employers offering allowances and reimbursement to employees. All eyes are on the upcoming budget for the next financial year as India looks to recover from the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020-21. It is widely expected that the government will prioritise spending in the next fiscal and ensure a smooth transition into growth territory in 2021-22.

Tax experts shared with Firstpost what they felt the government could announce by way of relief to employees.

Divakar Vijayasarathy, Founder and Managing Partner, DVS Advisors LLP

The salaried class could be disappointed if it’s expecting a reduction in tax rates. In fact, it should brace itself for a COVID cess. However, relief in terms of spending- based deductions, more in line with the alternate mechanisms provided for LTA during the Atmanirbhar Bharat package to improve domestic demand, can be expected. The deductions, unlike the investments based in the past, could be more available on spending. An increase in health insurance deduction and COVID-related hospitalisation can be anticipated. Considering the moratorium provided for 6 months during the pandemic, there could be a retrospective amendment on deductions available on housing loan interest and principal repayment.

Read more here..

08:02 (IST)

Budget 2021 LATEST Updates

When and where to watch the Budget speech

Union Budget 2021 is scheduled to be presented in the Parliament on Monday with the Budget speech most possibly starting at 11 am. The live telecast of the Union Budget 2021 can be viewed on several platforms including Lok Sabha TV, Doordarshan, Rajya Sabha TV and PIB and the YouTube channels of these outlets.

The government has also launched the Budget App for Android and IOS mobile phones which will have all the information about the Budget. Firstpost will also cover live updates on it’s special Budget coverage page, along with in-depth sector-wise analysis.

Click here to read more from Firstpost’s Budget coverage

07:57 (IST)

Budget 2021 LATEST Updates

Nirmala Sitharaman to present Budget at 11 am

All eyes are on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who will be presenting the Budget in Parliament at 11 am today (Monday). This will be the ninth consecutive annual budget presented before the country by the Narendra Modi government.

In the face of a slew of challenges ranging from a once-in-a-century pandemic, ensuing job losses, resentment among farmers and friction with neighbours, many expect Sitharaman to announce generous public spending but also make tough choices given a mountain of debt.

Union Budget 2021 LATEST Updates: Breaking from tradition since Independence, the Union Budget will not be printed this year due to COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the Nirmala Sitharaman had ditched the leather briefcase for a traditional “bahi khaata” — or red, handmade ledger.

Indian indices opened nearly a percent higher on Monday as investors kept an eye on the Budget 2021 to be tabled in the parliament by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman later today.

The Budget is widely expected to focus on increasing spending on creation of jobs and rural development, generous allocations for development schemes, handing more money to the common man and easing rules to attract foreign investments.

All eyes are on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who will be presenting the Budget in Parliament at 11 am today (Monday). This will be the ninth consecutive annual budget presented before the country by the Narendra Modi government.

In the face of a slew of challenges ranging from a once-in-a-century pandemic, ensuing job losses, resentment among farmers and friction with neighbours, many expect Sitharaman to announce generous public spending but also make tough choices given a mountain of debt.

Earlier in January, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that the budget for the FY2021 beginning April will be “like never before”. In a significant break from tradition owing to the novel coronavirus, this year’s financial statement will be completely paperless.

Sitharaman has also launched the “Union Budget Mobile App” for hassle-free access of Budget-related documents by Members of Parliament (MPs) and the public.

Meanwhile, India’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 23.9 percent in the first quarter of the financial year and as per the World Bank, the economy is estimated to contract by 9.6 percent in FY21, reflecting a sharp drop in household spending and private investment.

Since the last Budget, the size of the Indian economy has reduced from Rs 2.24 lakh crore nominal GDP considered in the FY2021 Budget to Rs 1.94 lakh crore.

However, the World Bank projected economic growth to recover to 5.4 percent this year.

It is important to note that the country’s economy found itself caught up in a recessionary phase owing to the pandemic and the subsequent nationwide lockdown.

With inputs from agencies

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