The Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI) recently organised a post-budget analysis in association with the Indian Museum, Kolkata, and Business Economics. This event had wide participation by practitioners, academics, scholars and students. The speakers included Professor Sugata Marjit, a renowned economist and RBI Chair Professor. He was also Vice Chancellor of Calcutta University. Rakesh Goyal, Commissioner, International Taxation, Hemant Jajodia, Director, Indirect Taxes, Deloitte Haskins & Sells, Professor Saibal Kar, Professor of Economics, Center for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, CMA Dr. I. Ashok and Mrityunjay Acharjee, Associate Vice President, Balmer Lawrie and Co. Ltd. were the other eminent speakers.
Sugata Marjit focused on the macro economic analysis of the interim budget. He stated that the overall budget size of the present budget was smaller as compared to the earlier one. He added that the most important takeaway of this budget was the impressive income support programme that has been envisioned for the small and marginal farmers. The scheme would involve an additional Rs. 75000 crore expenditure for the Indian government. He added that the programme was not enlisted in the budget estimate in 2018-19 but in the revised estimates of 2018-19. There is a provision of Rs. 20,000 crore for the same. According to him, there is need for some clarification in this regard. The point is if the government is proposing this scheme for the first time in 2019-20, what was it that propelled the government to spend on the same programme in a way as if it was approved in the last budget meeting.
Rakesh Goyal informed the audience that this budget has been kind to the middle classes. The extension of the non-taxable income to Rs. 5 lakh, expanding the standard deduction limit from Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 50,000 were all good news for the salaried classes. He also pointed out that the budget provisioned for tax benefits on ownership of two houses which would also help the middle classes.
Hemant Jajodia highlighted that even before this year’s budget was placed, a lot of significant changes has already been incorporated by the GST Council. The rates have been largely rationalised.
Professor Saibal Kar stated that though this budget is in the right direction as it looks to extend social security coverage, there is lot more that needs to be done. He wanted the government to look into the diverse needs of India’s highly fragmented unorganised sector.