Business Today

Budget at a glance

Budget 2008-09, which is high on promises for indebted farmers, rural development projects focussing on health, education and employment, also tucked in a few surprises for the urban tax payers.

     Print Edition: Budget 2008 Special

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Budget 2008-09, which is high on promises for indebted farmers, rural development projects focussing on health, education and employment, also tucked in a few surprises for the urban tax payers.

Though the FM did not offer much to India Inc. in shape of reduced corporate tax, he did bring down the excise duty on several items to boost demand.

 

Budget Highlights

Tax proposals for individuals and corporate

  • Tax exemption limit hiked to Rs 1.5 lakh from Rs 1.1 lakh
  • Tax exemption for women hiked to Rs 1.8 lakh
  • Tax exemption for senior citizens raised to Rs 2.25 lakh
  • No change in corporate income tax rate
  • No change in corporate surcharge tax rate
  • Five-year tax holiday to two-star, three-star, four-star hotels in UNESCO's heritage sites
  •  Also read:-

    Banking cash transaction tax to be withdrawn from April 1, 2009
  • Short-term capital gains tax on equities raised to 15 per cent from 10 per cent. Commodities transactions tax to be introduced
  • Securities transaction tax rates remain unchanged
  • Securities transaction tax to be treated like deductible expenditure
  • No Fringe Benefits Tax on crèche, employee sports, guest houses facilities

Rural India

The Finance Minister keeps his focus on the rural poor. Education and health programmes are the top priority in the Budget as the fund allocations for such programmes have been increased manifold. Allocation for the education sector (including northeast region) is increased by 20 per cement to Rs 34, 400 crore from Rs 28,674 crore in 2007-08. The annual budget of National Rural Health Mission programmes is raised to Rs 12,050 crore. The FM also earmarked Rs 993 crore separately to fight AIDS.

 
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Rural Electrification, housing, telecom and drinking water projects under the Bharat Nirman will get s 31,280 crore in 2008-09, up from Rs 24,603 crore in the last budget. Allocation for other developmental plans funded by the central government is increased to Rs 1,79,954 crore, a jump of 16 per cent over 200708.

Besides this, the total budgetary allocation for UPA government's flagship programmes-National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission and Rajiv Gandhi Drinking water Mission, among others-is increased to Rs 30, 166 crore.

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