The budget presented on the 1 of February, was a much-awaited budget of the decade. Given the unprecedented situation the country has seen last year and the kind of destruction the country had gone through, the budget was expected to be more into reforming and spending mode. The budget announced on Monday was on similar lines.
One can always complain that the government should have done more or must have spent more but nothing in the budget attracted criticism in terms of a wrong move. The good thing was the most anticipated move increasing taxes was proved to be wrong and the tax slabs were left untouched. The spending on the health sector was anticipated as it is a post-pandemic budget, at the same time extending the date of tax holidays for the startups is also a much-appreciated move.
The farmers’ community and the rural infrastructure is a much-awaited sector waiting to be taken care of by the government and given the political situations we are facing right now in the country it becomes all the more important. The government responded positively by introducing an agricultural infrastructure cess on some notified goods and commodities some like Rs.2.50/liter petrol and Rs4/liter diesel, but at the same time were smart enough in their endeavor to not put further burden on the consumer and therefore have announced to adjusted the excise duties on these notified commodities accordingly.
One of the prime issues this country faces is tax terrorism, the famous suicide case of the founder of Café Coffee Day was alleged to be a case of tax terrorism. The government seems to be hell bent on making this right. A faceless tribunal is been announced where the taxpayer will be interacting with the tribunal in a faceless manner. Experts are skeptical of the practicality of the move, but the intentions behind it are much appreciated. Last year the government announced faceless scrutiny of the books of accounts and taxes, jury is out on the success or failure of the move as the system is fairly new. Over and above this the time period for which the tax authorities can ask for the books of accounts has also been reduced from six years to three years, which is much appreciated as it reduces the terror of tax authorities and the lethargic nature of the tax authorities in a significant manner. Other than these few things there was a little relaxation to senior citizens of the country where citizens who are over 75 years old are exempted from filing the IT returns, on their income in the form of pensions only.
The budget is nowhere close to solving the problems this country is facing right now and, nor the government or anyone from the ruling party should claim it and make a fool of themselves. But given the situation, we are living in with the first quarter of 2020 witnessing a -23.9% growth rate and more than 9% current account deficit, and the tight fiscal situation the country is caught into, this budget is a good prudent, and sensible move by the government in the right direction.