There have been many discussions on the first budget post-GST implementation. The issues related to the new and revolutionized pan-India indirect tax regime continue to be an important turning point in all the pre-Budget consultations.
As per the GST news India, the bodies like Federation of Indian Exports Organisation (FIEO), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises (FISME), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), and others have already voiced their concerns related to GST in the pre-Budget recommendations. The apex industry bodies CII and FICCI talked about rationalizing GST rates to make the tax regime easier, and FIEO talked about the issues on the extension of duty drawback system for GST and refund of taxes. They also spoke about GST charged on freight for carrying fruits and vegetables.
There was a concern on consent in demand for the board, cut on the tax rate for businesses and individuals. This move is suggested as it is expected to outgrow both the domestic investment and the demand and hold the counties’ international competitive environment.
Though the government is lending its ears to all these recommendations from the stakeholders, it is quite clear on its priorities for the Union Budget 2018-19. The three main areas will remain Infrastructure, social sector programs, and agriculture. Upcoming general elections in 2019 call for the focus on these three highly politically sensitive sectors.
According to the GST India News, it has been proposed that a GST Council like Empowered Group of State Agricultural Ministers will be set up where Agricultural Reforms will be implemented.
The Finance Minister is following the demands of the social sector organizations that Administrative Ministries should release welfare scheme funds on priority to beneficiaries. He promises that his government will make sure that cost-effective fund utilization of the welfare schemes will happen. He is keen on the greater allocation of funds for the schemes like child protection and nutrition security. Other considerations include improving the quality of government schools, healthcare for the elderly people, streamlining vocational training to better employment, incentives to ensure better employment conditions for working mothers, and addressing labor issues in the informal sector.