With the pandemic taking a toll on many businesses and many salaried employees losing their jobs, all eyes are on the upcoming budget. The list of expectations is huge considering that many sectors have fallen prey to the pandemic.
However, below are some of them that I believe should be addressed on priority:
1) With the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Make in India’, startups need to be supported at large with concrete enablers, like support with working capital, reduction in compliances and simplified GST.
2) The country needs to move towards credit literacy and financial literacy. Government must encourage consumers by giving some tax relief or rebates for customers who take a step in this direction.
3) Liquidity support to NBFCs should also be high on the priority list.
4) Last year’s reduction in corporate tax at 22% was a welcome one, This year, everyone will be looking forward to serious conscious relaxation in GST across various products such as consumer durables, land, housing sector, cost of raw materials along with a simple GST process. This will help increase demand and bring in economies of scale. Tourism, Hospitality and MSME sectors have been severely affected due to the pandemic and hence, some subvention scheme will be a boost.
5) Stamp duty reduction in Maharashtra gave a boost to the real estate sector. However, the same must be extended along with GST reduction at a country level.
6) Salaried sector has always been the highest tax paying segment historically. The government must look at reducing IT rate slabs for salaried employees. Also with work from home for many employees, many internal costs have increases for households. Many companies are looking at providing these as allowances like internet allowance etc. Such allowances provided to employees should not be taxable.
7) Despite the use of technology, the education sector has also been severely affected as the schools were unprepared. All schools, including government-aided schools must be supported so that their digital infrastructure gets a leg-up.
8) Income tax should be waived off for senior citizens. With most of them having no health insurances and neither eligible for one now due to age, health maintenance, hospitalization and hygiene costs have increased. They have paid taxes all their lives when working. They need to be given waiver so that they can use their savings for better and healthy retirement. Also, under the Senior Citizens Savings Scheme, a senior citizen can deposit Rs 15 lakh. However, the interest on the scheme is fully taxable.
(The writer is founder and CEO, AskCred. Views expressed are personal)
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