The Budget for 2018-19 will mark the beginning of a new public accounting process in India. This Moneycontrol Insight18 podcast explains why the exercise is different from previous ones.Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present the current NDA government’s fifth and arguably his toughest Budget yet as he seeks to address agriculture distress, create jobs and boost growth while at the same time stick to fiscal prudence. Stay clued into key Budget announcements that will impact businesses, markets and you dear readers.With only about an hour to go for FM Jaitley to take centre stage, here’s a quick recap of 5 things that will be most closely watched during his speech.
Reintroduction of Standard Deduction: Abolished in 2006-07, there have been suggestions from multiple quarters about reintroducing standard deduction. It is part of income that is deducted from taxable income for purpose of income tax calculation without the need for proof. Finance Minister can help millions of salaried class by bringing this backNo change in Long-Term Capital Gains: While Sensex and Nifty have been on a roll recently, they could be spooked by long-term capital gains tax re-introduced, especially when Securities Transaction Taxes are already paidHigher 80C limits: Investments under 80C is one of the most used tax savings instruments used by salaried class (investments into ELSS, 5-year Fixed Deposits, Public Provident Fund, et al ); the government could help put some money in the pocket of the middle class by perhaps increasing the limit to RS. 2-2.5 lakhs from the current Rs. 1.5 lakhs; it will also help in inculcating savings habit in millennials coming into workforceIncrease in Section 80D deduction and Medical bills reimbursement limits: With burgeoning healthcare costs, especially in private sector, flexibility and higher limits for tax benefits and deductions on medical insurance and other expenses would not leave families desolate if an unplanned medical emergency occursExemptions for skill building: A large section of our IT workforce is under stress as their skills are running the risk of getting redundant; they need to up-skill and thus, tax breaks on amounts spent on education (not just education loans) can alleviate the stress from lower pay hikes or risk of pink slips; encouraging re-skilling of labor also is an investment in future by the government which could otherwise need to battle with increase in unemployment