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Budget 2015: 10 Things You Must Know

The Budget made numerous announcements and money allotments, and set the government's direction for the future. Here are the top 10 announcements

Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, announced the Union Budget 2015 today. The Budget made numerous announcements and money allotments, and set the government's direction for the future. Reading and making sense of the complete Budget is a Sisyphean task. We thought we should make this task easy for you, so we compiled the following top ten Budget announcements.

  1. GDP growth for FY 2015-2016 is estimated to be between 8 and 8.5 per cent. Fiscal deficit is expected to remain around 3.9 per cent of the GDP.
  2. Tax slabs remain unchanged. However, income tax deduction for health insurance has been increased from ₹15,000 to ₹25,000 for ordinary citizens and from ₹20,000 to ₹30,000 for senior citizens. Also, the tax deductible transport allowance has been increased from ₹800 to ₹1,600. Additional tax rebate of ₹50,000, apart from the one of ₹1.5 lakh under Section 80C, for investing in pension funds has been given. Tax-free infrastructure bonds are to be issued for the projects in roads, rail and irrigation.
  3. Choice between the Employees' Provident Fund and the National Pension Scheme is to be provided. For the employees below a certain threshold of income, contributions to the provident fund would be optional. However, the employer's contribution is to remain as it is.
  4. The corporate tax rate is to be reduced from 30 per cent to 25 per cent over the next four years. The wealth tax has been abolished and replaced with a 2 per cent surcharge on the super rich. New bankruptcy code is to be announced.
  5. Concealment of income and assets and evasion of tax in relation to foreign assets will be prosecutable with punishment of rigorous imprisonment up to ten years.
  6. The commodity regulator, Forward Markets Commission, is to be merged with the Sebi.
  7. The goods-and-services tax (GST) has been proposed to be implemented by April 2016. General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR) are to apply prospectively from April 1, 2017.
  8. The excise duty on cigarettes has been raised, making cigarettes more expensive.
  9. Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojna is to cover accidental death risk of ₹2 lakh for a premium of just ₹12 per year.
  10. The proposed gold monetisation scheme is to allow depositors to earn interest on their idle gold.