All that was announced in Arun Jaitley’s Union Budget 2015

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All that was announced in Arun Jaitley’s Union Budget 2015


The 2015 Union Budget last year was the first full-fledged budget presented by the Narendra Modi administration after it was sworn to power in the Lok Sabha elections of 2014. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is also the leader of the NDA in Rajya Sabha, presented the budget on February 28.

As another budget, quite crucial to the implementation of the economic agenda of the present government, comes closer, we take a look at the some of the highlights and major measures announced in the 2015 budget.

Hike in excise duty on specific products

The government hiked the excise duty on cigarettes, tobacco products, packed condensed milk, peanut butter, making the consumption of these products more expensive. “Excise duty is being increased by 25 per cent for cigarettes of length not exceeding 65 mm and by 15 per cent for cigarettes of other lengths. Similar hikes have been proposed on cigars, cheroots and cigarillos,” the Budget 2015-16 said. In terms of benefits, the government has made it cheaper to buy leather footwear above Rs 1,000 per pair, reducing excise duty on them to 6 per cent from 12 per cent. Similarly, inputs for manufacture of LED drivers has also been halved to 6 per cent.

Service tax hiked

By increasing the service tax from the current 12.36% to 14%, eating out, using credit and debit cards, cabs and mobile phones all became expensive.

The FM said education cess and secondary and higher education cess shall be subsumed into the new service tax rate.

The decision made several services including cable and DTH services, beauty parlour charges, courier service, laundry services, ordering stock broking, asset management and insurance more expensive. Packaged fruits and vegetables will, however, become cheaper as pre-cooling, ripening, retail packing and labelling of these items have been exempted from the service tax.

Ports urged to go corporate

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in his budget speech that all public sector ports owned by the Union government will be encouraged to convert into corporate entities from a trustee setup to bring about operational efficiency and financial autonomy.

It is to ensure that all major ports are able to efficiently compete with private sector ports, the FM said.

Focus on cooperative federalism

Accepting the recommendation of the 14th Finance Commission, the Union government raised the tax devolution to states from 32 per cent to 42 per cent of the shareable pool. This measure was welcomed as fundamentally restructuring the architecture of federal fiscal relations in the country.

The education cess has been absorbed as an increase in the service tax rate from 12 per cent to 14 per cent, bringing it into the shareable pool. The service tax base has also been broadened and exemptions reduced. On the other hand, replacing the wealth tax by a 2 per cent surcharge on the “super rich” takes it out of the shareable pool.

These steps by the government were seen as giving more power to the states.

Delhi government allocation

There was a 21 percent increase in the allocation of the central assistance for the Delhi government in the 2015 budget. The normal assistance of Rs 394.99 crore was an increase of Rs 69.99 crore since the 2014-15 allocation.

The non-plan grant for share in central taxes and duties of Delhi was proposed at Rs 325 crore for the 2015-16 financial year.



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