Budget 2015: Six things that you didn’t read in the fine print

By | March 7, 2015


The bricks and bouquets for this year’s Budget are flying thick and fast. Everyone from financial analysts on TV channels to the local newspaper delivery boy has shared their two pence on the most keenly watch annual ritual in the world’s largest democracy.

While many announcements hogged the media limelight, some were lost in the crosstalk. Here are five things you may not have read in the Budget’s fine print.

A Comprehensive Bankruptcy Code: Ever heard of Bankruptcy Laws in India? The Finance Minister has announced the government will be introducing a comprehensive bankruptcy code in fiscal 2015-16 that will meet global standards. The introduction of such a bill will give clarity to both individuals and companies to file for bankruptcy in case of genuine financial problems. Currently, people under severe financial distress end up in an economic and emotional mess; in extreme cases, they even kick the bucket. The introduction of this law is likely to provide options and rehabilitation to deserving parties.

Tax Benefit under the Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme: While the increase in additional tax deduction limit under NPS garnered its fair share of attention, there is another deduction that is likely to benefit many taxpayers but probably wasn’t noticed. All investments made under the Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme (girl child prosperity scheme by launched by the Modi government) will now be eligible for tax deduction under Section 80C of the Income Tax. The interest earned on deposits for accounts opened under the Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme will also be exempted from Income Tax.

Inter-usability of KYC: Filling up an insurance form or a loan application form is one of the most tedious tasks for even the most meticulous amongst us.This enormously boring task gets repeated in application after application as we chase our dreams of owning houses, cars, property and what have you. If only there were a magic want that would fill up all these annoying forms with our personal data. This Budget has conjured up just such a want. The FM has proposed a single operating demat account and inter-usable KYC records across different financial instruments. A KYC norm for all investments and banking needs would definitely applying for various things smooth and lightning quick.

Increase in Health Insurance Premium Benefits: In case you were left fretting and fuming with the unchanged income tax slabs, fret not. And fume not. The Finance Minister has instead increased the tax deduction limit of health insurance premium from the existing Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 25,000. For seniors, the limit is now Rs. 30,000, up from the previous Rs. 20,000. Now, increase not only your health cover but also get rewarded for that by way of precious tax savings.

Deduction on Donations:  This announcement too went by without much ado.Any donation that you may make towards a good cause for the National Fund for Control of Drug Abuse (NFCDA) will be eligible for a 100% tax deduction. The donations for a good cause along with tax deduction benefits have also been extended to other government owned schemes including the clean Ganga fund and Swachh Bharat Kosh. So, if you cannot physically go and clean the Ganges or wield the broom on the streets, you can do so virtually by donating for the cause; in turn, you get tax deductions plus the prospects of a cleaner and greener India.

More flow to banking reforms: Banks are now expecting more flow of funds and the private banks are likely to get a boost from the budget due to lower tax rate, merger of limits for FIIs and FDIs and more. The Budget also announced the plans for an infusion of Rs. 7,940 crore for PSU banks in the next fiscal. What’s in it for you? Well, think of it – when was the last time you came away from a PSU bank’s branch smiling?

Were there any other subtle teasers the Budget contained in its fine print? Write in.

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