FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 02 FEBRUARY 2018 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16 |`3|LC KOLKATA|NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR SC UNVEILS NEW ROSTER, CJI KEEPS PIL MATTERS KEJRIWAL RESENTS MARGINAL INCREASE IN DELHI ALLOCATION P3 SENSEX 35,906.66 -58.36 NIFTY IMMIGRATION SYSTEM ON MERIT BASIS NECESSARY: WH P10 11,016.90 -10.80 ` vs $ 63.54 MARY KOM STRIKES GOLD IN INDIA OPEN P15 P12 GOLD 30,286 +79.00 SILVER 39,237 +172.00 BRENT (OIL IN $) 63.47 +0.10 Eye on polls, Budget targets rural India Jaitley announces health insurance plan for 10 crore families, promises remunerative farm prices PRASHANT MUKHERJEE NEW DELHI, 1 FEBRUARY E yeing as many as eight assembly elections this year and the general election in 2019, the Narendra Modi government has presented a populist Budget to woo rural voters, focusing on agriculture and health sectors.In his last full Union Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday sent a clear message that the exercise revolved around appeasing the electorate. As most of the assembly elections are in the Hindi heartland, Jaitley broke into Hindi to make populist announcements in the budgetary proposals, which come at the cost of breaching the fiscal deficit target for 2017-18 ~ with the Budget estimate of 3.2 per cent of Gross Domestic Product at present being revised to 3.5 per cent. However, the NK Singh committee’s recommendation for the fiscal deficit target of 3.3 per cent of GDP for 2018-2019 has been accepted. The headline announcements include a revamped National Health Protection Scheme that will provide coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care 4 years gone; still promising farmers a fair price. 4 years gone; fancy schemes, 4 years gone; no jobs for our youth. Thankfully, only 1 more year to go Budget is farmer friendly, common citizen friendly, business environment friendly, will add to ease of living and doing business NARENDRA MODI PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA RAHUL GANDHI CONGRESS PRESIDENT WEATHER Partly cloudy sky. Moderate fog in the morning. The maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to be around 27 and 10 degrees Celsius respectively RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 88% Min. 42% Max: 27.8°C (+6) SUN RISES 07:08 hrs MOON RISES 20:06 hrs Min: 11°C (+3) SUN SETS 18:01 hrs MOON SETS 09:09 hrs TEMPERATURE Salaried class disappointed NEW DELHI, 1 FEBRUARY Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday provided little relief to salaried class as benefits under the proposed Rs 40,000 standard deduction will be neutralised to a large extent by inclusion of transport and medical allowances and 1 per cent hike in health and education cess. Already the individual tax payer was getting benefit of Rs 19,200 under transport allowance and Rs 15,000 under the medical allowance. Both these components add to the tax benefit of Rs 34,200 per annum. So, the effective tax gain is to the tune of Rs 5,800 per annum with the introduction of standard deduction. According to Parizad Sirwalla, partner (tax), KPMG, the withdrawal of annual tax free transport allowance and medical reimbursements has squared off the benefit on account of standard deduction. “An annual incremental net reduction of Rs 5,800 in income results into tax savings of Rs 302 and Rs 2,081,” Sirwalla said. At the same time, Sirwalla said, maximum tax rate overall has increased to 35.88 per cent from existing 35.53 per cent taking into account 1 per cent increase in education cess. According to Neeru Ahuja, Partner Deloitte India, on the taxation side, industry and individuals are “little disappointed that no significant tax relief has been provided in spite of increased PTI compliance by taxpayers”. Cong defeats BJP in Raj; TMC wins Bengal bypolls SNS & PTI JAIPUR/KOLKATA, 1 FEBRUARY The Congress and the TMC on Thursday swept the bypolls to three Lok Sabha and two Assembly seats in Rajasthan and West Bengal by impressive margins, dealing a huge blow to the BJP days ahead of Assembly elections in three states. The BJP came in for severe drubbing in Rajasthan where it is eyeing a second straight term, with Congress candidates thumping its nominees in two Lok Sabha and one Assembly seats. Mamata Banerjee's Trinamul Congress quelled the BJP challenge in West Bengal with ease as its candidates won the Uluberia Lok Sabha and Noapara Assembly seats, trouncing their nearest saffron party rivals. After making a remarkable turnaround in its electoral fortunes in neighbouring Gujarat late last year, the Congress put up a muscular performance in Rajasthan where its candidates wrested Alwar and Ajmer Lok Sabha and Mandalgarh Assembly seats from the BJP by impressive margins. Karan Singh Yadav of the Congress defeated his BJP rival Jaswant Yadav by a whopping 1,96,496 votes in Alwar, while the main Opposition party's nominee for Ajmer Raghu Sharma beat BJP's Swaroop Lamba by an impressive margin of over 84,414 votes, the state election office said. The Congress's Vivek Dhakad won the Mandalgarh Assembly seat, defeating his nearest BJP rival Shakti Singh Hada by nearly 13,000 votes. The defeat for the BJP came days after the release of period film "Padmaavat" which saw an upheaval of sorts in Rajasthan, with the influential Rajput community up in arms against its screening. Though the BJP government stood solidly behind Karni Sena, which spearheaded the protest against the film, the gesture did not pay off as the party lost the Ajmer seat that has a sizeable population of Rajputs. hospitalisation for 10 crore families, and a promise to provide minimum support price (MSP) of at least one and half times of the production cost for the Kharif crop.Jaitley has used the Budget to address the high rural discontent across several states as farmers have been throwing away their surplus farm produce that failed to fetch the right price. The farm livelihood package gets a cumulative allocation of `14.34 lakh crore.A big dampener for the stock market was the reintroduction of the Long Term Capital Gains (LTCG) tax ~ of 10 per cent ~ on gains of more than `1 lakh in the equity market. At present, gains from equity investments held for more than 12 months are exempt from tax.The Finance Minister also proposed to introduce a tax on distributed income by equity-oriented mutual funds at the rate of 10 per cent, to provide a level field across growth-oriented funds and dividend-distributing funds. “The proposed change in Capital Gains Tax will bring marginal revenue gain of about `20,000 crore in the first year, in view of grandfathering,” Jaitley said. The Budget extended the cut in the corporate tax rate introduced last year from 30 per cent to 25 per cent to companies clocking a turnover of up to `250 crore, up from the earlier `50 crore limit. “This would benefit the entire class of micro, small and medium enterprises, which account for almost 99 per cent of companies filing tax returns,” Jaitley said. “The estimated revenue foregone during Financial Year 2018-19 will be ` 7,000 crore. This lower corporate income tax rate would leave such companies with higher investible surplus, which would create more jobs,” he added. A comprehensive package was also offered to the MSME sector, which bore the brunt of demonetisation and the chaotic rollout of the Goods and Services Sector (GST). Much to the disappointment of the salaried classes, there are no changes to the income tax slab structure for individuals, except a provision to allow standard deduction of `40,000 for salaried taxpayers in lieu of the existing provision for medical and transport bills. Jaitley said 2.5 crore salaried employees and pensioners would benefit from this proposal and the revenue cost would be COSTLIER Imported items like cars, motorcycles, mobile phones, gold, silver, sunglasses, perfumes, LCD/LED TV panels, cigarettes and lighters etc. CHEAPER Bricks, tiles, medical care, raw cashew nuts, solar tempered glass and solar cells, etc. `8,000 crore. He mentioned the rising number of direct taxpayers and the increase in direct tax growth, and praised demonetisation. “We are enthused by success of our measures and pledge to take more measures in future by which black money is contained and honest taxpayers are rewarded,” he said. There is some relief for senior citizens as the interest income exemption has been increased to ` 50,000 from `10,000 for all fixed and recurring deposit schemes, including small savings.Jaitley also extended the Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana up to March 2020. Under this, an assured return of 8 per cent is given by Life Insurance Corporation of India. The existing limit on investment of `7.5 lakh per senior citizen under this scheme is being doubled to Rs 15 lakh. Jaitley increased the education cess to 4 per cent from the present 3 per cent to help cover the cost of government-sponsored programmes in health and education. In the education sector, Jaitley proposed to revitalise infrastructure, opening schools for the Scheduled Tribe population as well as promoting programmes for teachers. Since the major portion of indirect taxes has gone under the oods and Services Tax (GST) now, Jaitley has hiked custom duty on a range of sectors and items. Mobile phones and import of mobile phone parts are set to be more expensive with an increase in custom duty on mobile phones from 15 per cent to 20 per centJaitley cheered up the House by announcing increased salaries for President, Vice President, governors and members of Parliament. The President’s salary will go up to `5 lakh a month from the current `1.5 lakh and the Vice President’s to Rs 4 lakh from Rs 1.25 lakh.The Governor’s pay will be revised to `3.5 lakh a month from `1.10 lakh. The Finance Minister also proposed an inflationlinked revision of MPs' salaries. Editorial: A good job P8 Editorial:
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