Feb 1, 2023
India Budget Top 10 Highlights: Infrastructure to Tax Perks
(Bloomberg) -- In the last full year budget before Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks a third term in May 2024, India unveiled measures for a range of audiences including taxpayers, farmers, women, senior citizens while boosting capital spending by a third for the coming fiscal year.
At the same time, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman reiterated her commitment to narrow the fiscal gap to below 4.5% of gross domestic product by fiscal year 2026. Here are the top 10 highlights from the finance chief:
- The government announced a bigger-than-anticipated boost in its capital investment — to 10 trillion rupees ($122 billion) in the fiscal year starting April from 7.5 trillion rupees in the year ending March
- Sitharaman also vowed to narrow the fiscal deficit target to 5.9% of GDP in FY24 versus 6.4% in FY23. Ten-year yields climbed as much as 6 basis points initially, before swinging lower, by as much as 6 basis points to 7.28%
- The budget would entail a gross borrowing of 15.43 trillion rupees, lower than the Bloomberg survey estimate of 15.77 trillion rupees
- Middle income taxpayers got some relief as the budget proposed to raise the rebate threshold in the new personal income tax regime. Income up to 700,000 rupees will be tax-free versus the earlier threshold of 500,000 rupees. Changes were also announced to reduce number of slabs, increase tax exemption limit, make standard deduction available, cut the surcharge on the highest tax rate and increase exemption limit for leave encashment
- The government also announced customs duty relief on mobile phones components, capital goods for lithium batteries and other such items to boost green energy, exports
- The construction industry will cheer an increase of 66% in the outlay on the affordable housing scheme, popularly called the PM Awas Yojana, to 790 billion rupees
- Other important expenditure announcements include:
- Indian railways receiving the highest ever outlay at 2.4 trillion rupees
- 350 billion rupees investment in energy security/transition
- An Urban Infrastructure Development Fund with 100 billion rupees allocation
- An 11% increase in agriculture credit to 20 trillion rupees
- Additional 90 billion rupees toward credit guarantee for medium and small enterprises
- 50 additional airports, heliports, water aerodromes announced
- A second iteration of an indirect tax dispute settlement scheme. Vivad se Vishwas 2 will settle contractual disputes of government and government undertakings, wherein arbitral award is under challenge in a court
- Among the many things India’s budget does — it also provides for libraries. The finance minister announced the establishment of a National Digital Library to make available quality books across languages, geographies and genres
For more on India Budget Presentation, click here for our TOPLive blog.
--With assistance from Saket Sundria.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.