02022017-TTC-01.qxd 2/2/2017 1:22 AM Page 1 13 established in 1881 thursday, february 2, 2017 chandigarh | gurgaon | jalandhar | bathinda | jammu | srinagar | www.tribuneindia.com | vol. 137 no. 32 | 26 pages | ~4.50 | regd. no. chd/0006/2015-2017 I-T halved to 5% for assessees in ~2.5-~5 lakh slab ■ ~12,500 relief for taxpayers in other categories ■ 10% surcharge on income between ~50 lakh-1 cr ■ ~1 lakh cr Rail Safety Fund for network upgrade ■ Highest-ever ~48,000-cr grant for MGNREGA ■ FIPB shut; FDI norms to be further eased ■ Packed with small, big FOUNDER’S DAY: We offer our respectful tributes to Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, who founded The Tribune this day 136 years ago. CHEAPER COSTLIER CIGARETTES RAILWAY TRAVEL Smokers and tobacco consumers will have to pay more for their indulgence Service tax on etickets booked through IRCTC withdrawn MOBILES RO WATER PURIFIERS Populated Printed Circuit Boards for use in the manufacturing of mobile phones attract tax Customs duty on imported membrane sheet and tricot/ spacer reduced from 12.5% to 6% LED LIGHTS CLEAN ENERGY Parts used for manufacturing of LED lights will attract basic customs duty of 5% and CVD 6% from nil earlier Duties on solar tempered glass, fuel cell-based power generating systems and wind operated generator cut New law soon to confiscate property of absconders like Vijay Mallya, says Finance Minister Cash donations to charitable trusts brought down from ~10,000 to ~2,000; pay by cheque/digital mode Budget announcement: Head post offices to act as central office for rendering passport service New Delhi, February 1 In a pre-election Budget aimed at softening the demonetisation blow, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today halved the basic income tax rate to 5 per cent and lowered the rate for small companies, while boosting spending on rural employment, agriculture and infrastructure. Jaitley presented a merged railway and general Budget after advancing the dates by a month that provides a record outlay of Rs 3,96,135 crore for infrastructure schemes, besides a capital expenditure of Rs 1.3 lakh crore on railways and Rs 64,000 crore on highways. The FM perhaps was asked to build on the political gains of demonetisation, and that is why sections hurt by it were targeted for incentives. Small and medium enterprises got a tax cut and taxpayers were rewarded — though not to the extent expected. And much against expectation again, the Budget lacked the surprise factor. The Budget seeks to provide a record Rs 10 lakh crore in loans to farmers, boost funds for rural employment guarantee programme, bring one crore households out of poverty and promised to build one crore houses by 2019 for the homeless ahead of the crucial elections in five states. 5% corporate tax cut for small firms In view of the fact that the proposed GST is expected to be rolled out soon, he left indirect taxes largely untouched. While the tax rate for income between Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 5 lakh has been lowered to 5 per cent, a 10 per cent surcharge has been slapped on income between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 1 crore. The 15 per cent surcharge on income above Rs 1 crore will continue. The tax liability of all persons below Rs 5 lakh would be reduced to either zero (with rebate) or 50 per cent of the existing liability. In order not to have duplication of benefit, the existing benefit of rebate available to them is being reduced to Rs 2,500 available only to assessees up to income of Rs 3.5 lakh. While the taxation liability of people with income up to Rs 5 lakh is being reduced to half, all other categories of taxpayers in the subsequent slabs will also get a uniform benefit of Rs 12,500 per person. In the case of senior citizens above 60 years, there will be no tax up to Rs 3 lakh, while the exemption will be up to Rs 5 lakh in case of citizens above 80. Both the categories will attract a tax of 20 per cent on income between Rs 5-10 lakh and 30 per cent for income above Rs 10 lakh. — Agencies Edit: An incremental budget The Finance Minister has lowered the corporate tax on companies with a turnover of less than ~50 crore to 25 per cent from 30 per cent, a move that will benefit 6.67 lakh firms out of 6.94 lakh companies that file returns. This would lead to a revenue loss of ~7,200 crore per annum to the government. UNION Budget 2017 -18 No cash deals above ~3 lakh No transaction above ~3 lakh will be permitted in cash. A proposal to mandate all government receipts through digital means, beyond a prescribed limit, is under consideration, Arun Jaitley said. Accepting the suggestion of SIT on Black Money to ban cash transactions above ~3 lakh, Jaitley proposed an amendment to the Income Tax Act in the Finance Bill. TRIBUNE PHOTO: MUKESH AGGARWAL Cash to parties capped at ~2k, with poll bonds NewDelhi, February1 In a bid to usher in more transparency in funding of political parties, the Budget proposals today introduced ~2,000 cash donation limit per person, slashing it from the existing ~20,000, besides introducing electoral bonds. Citing that even after 70 years the country could not evolve a transparent system of funding parties, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the proposals included receipt of donations by cheque or digital mode and electoral bonds that donors can purchase from authorised banks against cheque/digital payment. Under the scheme, to be introduced amending the Reserve Bank of India Act, these bonds will be redeemable only in the designated account of a registered political party and will be redeemable within the prescribed time limit. “The donor and the donee will get tax exemption. A donor will get a deduction, donee as a political party will get an exemption provided the returns are filed and donations by any single donor above ~2,000 are in the form of cheque or digital mode,” Jaitley said at a press conference. While Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi welcomed the step, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury felt the cash cut would Welfare funds for women, children up open up “a plethora of ways” through which unaccounted money would come in and demanded complete ban on corporate funding. However, Prof Jagdeep Chhokar of the Association of Democratic Reforms felt lowering the limit will not help bring about transparency, as parties that do not want to declare the source will now convert incoming donations into even smaller amounts. — TNS Funds for the welfare of women and children under various schemes across all ministries would be increased from ~1,56,528 crores to ~1,84,632 crores. Jaitley also announced the setting up of Mahila Shakti Kendra at village level. ~1,31,000cr ~10,000cr ~51,026 cr ~48,853cr ~2,74,114 cr RAILWAYS BANKING SECTOR AGRICULTURE HEALTH DEFENCE Railway lines of 3,500 km will be commissioned and at least 25 stations are expected to be awarded for station redevelopment in 2017-18 To be injected into state-owned banks as capital in the coming fiscal as compared to ~25,000 crore budgeted for the current year To be used to double farmers’ incomes in five years and set up two dedicated funds of ~13,000 crore to promote micro-irrigation and dairy processing To ensure availability of specialist doctors at the secondary and tertiary levels, creation of additional 5,000 post- graduate seats every year Out of this amount, ~86,488.01 crore is for capital outlay meant for acquisition of assets such as aircraft and tanks for the defence services TAXES AND YOU 02 RAIL KOSH In a relief to small taxpayers and the middle-class following demonetisation, FM Arun Jaitley presenting the Union Budget for 2017-18 announced cuts in personal income tax. 03 RURAL PUSH Taking note of the recent cases of passenger train derailments, the government has accepted the Kakodkar Committee report by proposing to unveil “Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh”. 04 Responding to distress signals from rural and agriculture sectors post-demonetisation, the focus of the Budget amid Assembly polls remained mainly on the party’s core areas of concern. MEDICAL EDUCATION India has only one doctor for every 2,000 people as against the WHO’s mandated norm of one doctor for every 1,000 persons. The Budget tries to arrest this trend. Blast toll 6, NSG helping in probe Gurdeep Singh Mann & Nikhila Pant Dhawan Tribune News Service Forensic experts inspect the mangled remains of the car in which explosive material was kept in Maur Mandi. PHOTO: VIJAY KUMAR Maur (Bathinda), February 1 Punjab DGP Suresh Arora today visited the site of the twin blasts at Maur Mandi that took place a few metres from where Congress candidate Harminder Jassi had addressed a rally late Tuesday evening. Jassi escaped with minor bruises. Arora, who ordered a bulletproof vehicle for Jassi, said forensic experts and bomb squad teams of the National Security Guards (NSG) were helping the Punjab Police to determine the nature of the explosives used and get to the perpetrators. Meanwhile, the blast toll ❝ AAP is clearly promoting extremist ideology and is, hence, to be blamed for the blast. Kejriwal has been encouraging fascist forces during his election campaign. — Capt Amarinder Singh, PPCC CHIEF Kejriwal has started playing ‘dirty politics’ by joining hands with Sikh militants and radicals. We will not allow him to play with the unity of the country. — Sukhbir Badal, DY CM AAP is a party born of agitation against corruption and misrule. We are nationalists and the nation’s interests are of utmost importance to us. — Sanjay Singh, AAP has risen from three to six. Among the dead are Jassi’s aide Harpal Singh Pali (40), Ashok Kumar (35) and his daughter Barkha Rani (7), Saurav Singla (13), Ripandeep Singh (9) and Jap Simran Singh (26). All business establishments in Maur Mandi remained shut today. Arora spent three hours in the town. “The Maruti in which the explosives were kept bore a fake number plate of a 1996 model scooter registered in Zira,” he said, claiming the police would crack the case in a day or two. He said they suspected the role of the Babbar Khalsa. Today’s issue is of 26 pages, including four-page Jalandhar Tribune. 05 SENSEX ZOOMS 18 JAITLEYSPEAK A focus on fiscal discipline and clarity on FPI taxation came as music to investors’ ears, with the Sensex leaping nearly 486 points to close at an over 3-month high of 28,142. 22 Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said agriculture, rural development and infrastructure were the big-ticket spending items in the Budget and the government was building on the success stories. Fiscal deficit down to 3.2% from 3.5% Affordable housing gets infra status Now, tax exemption to CM, LG relief funds New Delhi: Moving ahead with the fiscal consolidation path, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has pegged the fiscal deficit for 2017-18 at 3.2 per cent, down from 3.5 per cent expected in the current financial year. Addressing the media, he said the Budget estimate for fiscal deficit was 3.5 per cent for 2016-17 and revised estimate is also 3.5 per and it will be achieved. Fiscal deficit is the difference between revenue receipts plus non-debt capital receipts (NDCR) and total expenditure. This indicates the total borrowing requirements of the government from all sources. Fiscal deficit of 3.2 per cent in absolute terms for the next fiscal comes out to be ~5,46,532 crore. PTI New Delhi: Aiming to boost real estate sector, the government announced infrastructure status to affordable housing for encouraging investment and offered tax sops to developers sitting on completed but unsold homes. The allocation for Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana- Gramin has also been raised. PTI New Delhi: The government announced extension of tax exemption on contributions to Chief Minister’s Relief Fund and Lieutenant Governor’s Relief Fund. At present, there is tax exemption on funds given to Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. Jaitley said Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (CMRF) and Lieutenant Governor’s Relief Fund (LGRF) are of the same nature as the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund at the level of state or the union territory. “Therefore, it is proposed to amend the said clause so as to provide the benefit of exemption to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund or the Lieutenant Governor’s Relief Fund,” he said. This amendment to I-T Act will take effect retrospectively from April 1, 1998. PTI Incentives to boost investment in NPS New Delhi: In a bid to boost NPS, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has proposed higher tax rebate for investment in flagship social security programmes and allowed tax relief on partial withdrawal of up to 25 per cent of the contribution. PTI
The Tribune, now published from Chandigarh, started publication on February 2, 1881, in Lahore (now in Pakistan). It was started by Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, a public-spirited philanthropist, and is run by a trust comprising four eminent persons as trustees.
The Tribune, the largest selling daily in North India, publishes news and views without any bias or prejudice of any kind. Restraint and moderation, rather than agitational language and partisanship, are the hallmarks of the paper. It is an independent newspaper in the real sense of the term.
The English edition apart, the 133-year-old Tribune has two sister publications, Punjabi Tribune (in Punjabi) and Dainik Tribune (in Hindi).