Budget 2024 Updates

FM hikes exemption limit for long-term capital gain to Rs 1.25 lakh + hikes tax rate to 12.5% on specified financial assetsCGST - Finance Bill proposes to amend Sec 9 to take ENA out of purview of GST + inserts Sec 11A to regularise non-levy of tax on general practice in tradeCGST - Sub-sections to be inserted in Act to relax time-limit to avail ITC u/s 16(4) + New Sec 74A proposed to provide for common time limit for demand notices in fraud casesCGST - Proviso to be inserted in Sec 30(2) to provide for enabling conditions for revocation of registration + Amendment in Sec 39 to mandate return filing by TDS deductors even if there is no deduction in a particular monthIGST - Amendment proposed to prohibit refund of unutilised ITC on zero-rated supplyCustoms - Finance Bill proposes to amend Sec 28DA for acceptance of different types of proof of origin under FTAsFM hikes standard deduction to Rs 75K for new ITR regime + revises tax rates for all income slabs + Rs 7000 Cr revenue foregoneBudget withdraws 2% equalisation levyFM reduces corporate tax rate for foreign companies to 35%FM proposes vivad se vishwas scheme + hikes monetary limits for filing appealsFM proposes 20% capital gains tax on short-term assets + listed financial assets held for more than one year to be classified as long-termGovt scraps TDS on Mutual Funds + decriminalises delay in depositing TDS + rationalisation of compounding of offences + revamps reassessment periodBudget proposes comprehensive review of I-T Act, 1961 + simplifies provisions for charities and TDSFM reduces customs duty on gold and silver to 6% + Nil BCD on nickel cathodeBudget proposes to reduce BCD on mobile phone and chargers to 15% + exempts 25 minerals from customs dutyFM exempts cancer medicines from Customs duty + amends BCD for various machinesFM proposes Rs 48 lakh expenditure outlay; 4.9% fiscal deficitFM announces Rs 1 lakh crore fund for developing space economyPromotion of Tourism - Vishnupad temple and Bodh Gaya temple corridors to be supportedFM announces over Rs 11 lakh crore capital expenditure in current fiscalGovt to invest in small Nuclear energy plants in partnership with private playersCentre to ask States to lower stamp duty for women purchasers of housesIBC - More Benches of NCLT to be set up to speed up recoveryFM spikes limit of Mudra loan to Rs 20 lakhsBudget offers financial aid to labour-intensive MSMEs in manufacturing sectorGovt announces 3 crore additional houses under PM SchemeGovt to secure Rs 15K loan for AP from multilateral agenciesGovt to frame new policy for all-round development of Bihar, Jharkhand and OdishaGovt to give one-month salary to all new recruits in formal sector through EPFOGovt to promote vegetable clusters closer to urban settlementsGovt to focus on productivity of agriculture with climate-resilient seedsFM allocates Rs 2 lakh outlay for PM's five schemes for job creation and farmersFM Nirmala Sitharaman presents 7th Union Budget in ParliamentBudget 2024: FM arrives at Parliament; Speech to begin at 11AMEconomic Survey 2023-24 - from GST PerspectiveUkrainian FM goes on tour to ChinaI-T- Additions framed u/s 69A are untenable where affidavits submitted by assessee's parents to explain source of cash deposits, were discarded by AO without consideration : ITATSurvey acknowledges productivity loss due to mental health disordersI-T- Short term capital gains returned by the assessee in terms of provisions of section 50 of the Act on assets held for a period of more than 36 months be treated as long term capital gains: ITATExpenditure on social services up from 6.7% to 7.8% of GDP: SurveyI-T-Additions framed u/s 68 are upheld where assessee is unable to prove genuineness of transaction involving purchase and sale of penny stock: ITATTrade deficit contracts to USD 78 bn from USD 126 bn in 2023I-T-Re-assessment is invalidated when there is no failure on part of assessee to make full and true disclosure of facts necessary for assessment: ITATCorporate profitability has peaked to 15-yr-old high between 2020-2023: SurveyI-T- When cash generated out of sales has been credited in the books of accounts, the provisions of Sec.69A could not be invoked: ITATBudget 2024: More relief for senior citizens & individual taxpayers on card; tweaking of capital gains tax likely; steady capital expenditure to stayI-T- If any amount invested is purely a strategic investment & for purpose of commercial expediency, then AO cannot hold such investments to be for non-business purpose: ITATGoogle backpedals on plan to scrap cookies from ChromeCus - For a HNWI individual, an expensive watch of 'Rolex' make would be his personal effect but same may not be the case if the person is of mere means - Pendant studded with diamonds not liable for confiscation: HCGovt amends Recruitment Rules for Debts Recovery TribunalGST - Even if no date, time or place of hearing is indicated in the notice issued, it was the duty of assessee to file his reply to SCN, which was admittedly received - Plea regarding violation of principles of natural justice cannot be countenanced: HCAbhinav Bindra conferred with Olympic OrderGST - Mismatch between value of e-way bills generated on portal and returns filed in Form GSTR-3B - Petitioner did not provide a comprehensive explanation - To remit sum of Rs.3.50 crores within six weeks - Matter remanded: HCHackers mercilessly hack Bangladesh PM’s website along with police portalsGST - Rule 30 of Rules, 2017 - Assessing officer ought to have issued summons and obtained clarification rather than estimating the outward supply value at 110% of purchase value - Order set aside and matter remanded subject to remit of 10% disputed tax demand: HCUS law-makers call for resignation of Secret Service chief in Trump assassination caseGST - Net ITC shown incorrectly - An inadvertent error was committed and such error was rectified, albeit irregularly, however, sum recovered from petitioner's bank account - Order set aside and matter remanded: HCKarnataka IT Industries piling pressure on govt to extend working hoursGST - Since notification is declared unconstitutional, Amount of IGST paid pursuant to Entry No. 10 of Notification No. 10 of 2017 is to be refunded along with statutory interest: HCStudy says earth’s water depleting fastFDI inflows slide to USD 26.5 bn in 2024 from USD 42 bn in 2023: Economic Survey
 
New FM

JUNE 19, 2024

By Vijay Kumar

Ms. NIRMALA SITHARAMAN, fondly referred to as the second lady Finance Minister of the Country, is back. When the idea of the GST Council emerged, maybe they had a vision that sometime in the future, there would be a lady Finance Minister and it would be embarrassing to call her the Chairman of the GST Council. Article 279A of the Constitution designates the Union Finance Minister as the chairperson of the GST Council, not Chairman. Launching the GST in 2017, Prime Minister Modi said it would put an end to tax terrorism. But tax terrorism seems to be intact. Let us hope the new (old) Finance Minister ensures that it is reduced, if not eliminated.

In her Interim Budget speech on February 01 2024, Ms Nirmala Sitharaman stated,

94. In 2014 when our Government assumed the reins, the responsibility to mend the economy step by step and to put the governance systems in order was enormous. The need of the hour was to give hope to the people, to attract investments, and to build support for the much-needed reforms. The Government did that successfully following our strong belief of 'nation-first'.

95. The crisis of those years has been overcome, and the economy has been put firmly on a high sustainable growth path with all-round development. It is now appropriate to look at where we were then till 2014 and where we are now, only for the purpose of drawing lessons from the mismanagement of those years. The Government will lay a White Paper on table of the House.

96. The exemplary track record of governance, development and performance, effective delivery, and 'Jan Kalyan' has given the Government trust, confidence and blessings of the people to realize, whatever it takes, the goal of 'Viksit Bharat' with good intentions, true dedication and hard work in the coming years and decades.

Now, under the changed circumstances, that White Paper may not be laid.

There seems to be a lot of fuss about the lady Finance minister. What is special about a lady becoming the Finance Minister? That reminds me of an outstanding lady Finance Minister-Sri Mulyani Indrawati, the Star Finance Minister of Indonesia who became the Finance Minister in 2005. When she left the job to take up an assignment as the Managing Director of the World Bank in 2010, the Indonesian Stock Market collapsed. She came back as Finance Minister in 2016.

Addressing senior officers of her ministry, she once advised them to:

1. Be the adhesive for things that have been cracked.

2. Be the unifier of things that are currently scattered.

3. Be the coolants for things that some time ago felt warm and heated up.

4. Be the bridge for those who had been distant.

5. Clarify things that have become turbid lately.

Maybe, our FM would also have some such advice for the senior babus.

Running the Finance ministry is not an easy task. This is a huge maze, to understand which, will itself take a long time. Just have a look at the structure of the Ministry and what it is up to.

The Ministry of Finance was re-organized in the year 1949 in two Departments:

(a) Department of Revenue and Expenditure: and

(b) Department of Economic Affairs.

In 1956, two separate Departments, Department of Revenue and Department of Expenditure were created. Ministry of Disinvestment, which was created in December 1999, was brought under Ministry of Finance as 'Department of Disinvestment' in May 2004. In 2007, a new Department of Financial Services was created by carving the Banking and Insurance Division out of the Department of Economic Affairs. At present, Ministry of Finance has the following six Departments.

a) Department of Economic Affairs,

b) Department of Expenditure,

c) Department of Revenue,

d) Department of Financial Services,

e) Department of Disinvestment, and

f) Department of Public Enterprises.

There are six departments each headed by a Secretary assisted by a couple of Additional Secretaries and many Joint Secretaries and other varieties and they all have secretaries to do secretarial work. Remember the scene in "Yes Minister", where the Secretary tries to tell the minister about the personnel in the ministry. He says, "Well briefly, Sir, I am the Permanent Under Secretary of State, known as the Permanent Secretary. Woolley here is your Principal Private Secretary; I too have a Principal Private Secretary and he is the Principal Private Secretary to the Permanent Secretary. Directly responsible to me are 10 Deputy Secretaries, 87 Under Secretaries and 219 Assistant Secretaries. Directly responsible to the Principal Private Secretary are plain Private Secretaries, and the Prime Minister will be appointing 2 Parliamentary Under Secretaries and you will be appointing your own Parliamentary Private Secretary."

And the minister asks, "Do they all type?"

Well, the six departments that Madam Sitharaman has to handle are:

1. The Department of Revenue: This is the Department that is responsible for all the good deeds in the Goods and Services Tax administration. It exercises control in respect of matters relating to all the Direct and Indirect Taxes of the Union through two statutory Boards, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC). Each Board is headed by a Chairman with six Members who are all ex-officio Special Secretaries to the Government of India.

This Department administers inter alia-

1. Central Economic Intelligence Bureau.

2. Directorate of Enforcement.

3. Central Bureau of Narcotics.

4. Chief Controller of Factories.

5. Appellate Tribunals (CESTAT, GSTAT). Please note that the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal is not under the Revenue Department or Finance Ministry.

The Revenue Department's website shows the Tribunals as Attached/Subordinate Offices of the Revenue Department. And you thought the Tribunals were independent judicial bodies!

2. The Department of Expenditure is the nodal Department for overseeing the public financial management system in the Central Government. It is responsible for the implementation of the recommendations of the Finance Commission and Central Pay Commission, monitoring of audit comments/observations, preparation of Central Government Accounts. It assists central Ministries/Departments in controlling the costs and prices of public services, reviewing system and procedure to optimize outputs and outcomes of public expenditure. The principal activities of the Department include overseeing the expenditure management in the central Ministries/Departments through the interface with the Financial Advisers and the administration of the Financial Rules/Regulations/Orders, pre-sanction appraisal of major schemes/projects, handling bulk of the central budgetary resources transferred to States.

3. Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM): The Department of Disinvestment was set up as a separate Department on 10th December 1999 and was later renamed as Ministry of Disinvestment in September 2001. From May 2004, the Department of Disinvestment is one of the Departments under the Ministry of Finance. The Department of Disinvestment has been renamed as Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) from 14th April 2016.

This Department is responsible for-

1. All matters relating to management of Central Government investments in equity including disinvestment of equity in Central Public Sector Undertakings.

2. All matters relating to sale of Central Government equity through offer for sale or private placement or any other mode in the erstwhile Central Public Sector Undertakings.

4. Department of Economic Affairs: DEA is responsible for advice on economic issues having a bearing on internal and external aspects of Indian Economy including inflation, price control, foreign exchange management, Official Development Assistance, domestic finance and preparation of Union Budget, bilateral and multilateral engagement with international financial institutions and other countries. The Department maintains the cadre of Indian Economic Service.

DEA is divided into fifteen functional divisions like Budget, Economic Division, Financial Markets, Currency & Coin, Financial Sector Reforms & Legislation and so on.

This Department inter alia deals with matters relating to-

1. Preparation of Union Budget, Supplementary Demand for Grants and Excess Grants, monitoring of the provisions of the Union Budget.

2. Borrowings, lending and Ways and Means of the Union Government.

3. Public Debt, including external debt and Debt Management Office.

4. Non-Tax Revenues.

5. Finance Commission and financial matters relating to reorganization of States.

6. Financial emergency.

7. Currency & Coinage.

8. Management of Foreign Exchange Resources.

9. Preparation of Economic Survey, Mid-year Economic Analysis, Indian Public Finance Statistics.

10. Securities market.

11. Small savings, including Public Provident Fund.

12. Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements.

13. Foreign travel of Ministers of State Governments/Union Territories, Members of State Legislature/Union Territories and State Government Officials.

14. Multilateral Financial Institutions such as World Bank, International Monetary Fund, African Development Bank, International Fund for Agriculture Development, Asian Development Bank, BRICS New Development Bank etc

It has control over:

1. Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd.

2. National Savings Institute.

3. Securities and Exchange Board of India.

4. Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Trust.

5. Department of Financial Services covers the functioning of Banks, Financial Institutions, Insurance Companies and the National Pension System. The Department manages the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY), Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY), Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY), Atal Pension Yojana (APY), Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY) and the Stand Up India Scheme.

This Department deals with legislative and policy issues pertaining to the regulatory bodies like the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) and the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).

6. Department of Public Enterprises: The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) was set up in 1965 in the Ministry of Finance. As a result of the reorganization of the Ministries/Departments of the Union Government in September, 1985, BPE was made part of the Ministry of Industry. In May, 1990, BPE was made a full-fledged Department known as the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE).

The Department of Public Enterprises is the nodal department for all the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) and formulates policy pertaining to CPSEs. It lays down, in particular, policy guidelines on performance improvement and evaluation, autonomy and financial delegation and personnel management in CPSEs.

But where is the Finance Secretary? Usually, the seniormost among the Secretaries in the Ministry is designated as the Finance Secretary. At present, the Expenditure Secretary Dr. YV Somanathan is the Finance Secretary.

WOW, that's a lot of government. The FM has also to take care of transfer of senior officers of all these departments, which itself is a gigantic task. It's a miracle how the Finance Ministers have survived this ordeal. Maybe the system is unfair to the Finance Ministers, for the sheer load of work they have to carry, compared to, maybe the minister for tourism.

A former Finance Minister of Punjab once told me in the presence of two other State Finance Ministers that it is very difficult for Finance Ministers to win elections; they become so unpopular that they either lose the next election or win with a dangerously thin majority. This Finance Minister had lost the last election. So, the upper house is a safe berth for Finance Ministers.

It's a tough task ahead for Ms Nirmala Sitharaman. Let's wish her all the best.

Until next week


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