In what was termed as a 'make-or-break' Budget by many, the focus remained on how the FM achieves the much desired balance between the expectations and the fiscal prudence in an optimistic Indian economy and challenging global situation.
Sharing government's success in bringing economic stability and accelerating GDP growth, the focus of the Budget was on growth, investment, redistribution and promoting the 'Make in India' campaign of the prime minister. The government has also tried to address the problem of black money stashed overseas by making the penalties and prosecution provisions more stringent.
Certainly, the Budget comes as a big push for investments in infrastructure and manufacturing sector.
The main highlight is the reduction in the corporate tax rate from 30 per cent to 25 per cent over the next four years to be accompanied by removal of tax exemptions, which comes as a structured relief to the India Inc.
The deferment of GAAR provisions by two years with prospective application and discarding DTC would provide more certainty on the tax regime on corporate restructuring exercise and business transactions.
The increase in the threshold limits for applicability of domestic transfer provisions from existing Rs 5 crore to Rs 20 crore also comes as a respite to the large corporate houses.
Increase in service tax rate from 12 per cent to 14 per cent can be viewed as a step-forward to the enactment of GST regime in India.
Reduction of tax rate on royalty and fee for technical services from earlier 25 per cent to 10 per cent brings huge relief to corporates. The single-window clearance regime by bringing 14 regulators under one fold is also a welcome move.
Exempting FIIs from paying MAT on the capital gains arising on disposal of investments would also propel FII investments.
The much awaited clarification on the threshold to tax indirect transfers has now been provided to 50 per cent, which also sends positive signals globally.
(The author is the managing partner of Nangia & Company)