Union Budget 2015-16 India Pre-Update : Gold imports set to rise as RBI eases curbs ahead of Budget

Gold imports to top consumer India are set to jump in coming months after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) eased gold import curbs, ahead of an expected cut in import duty in next week’s budget.

The Reserve Bank of India said on Wednesday banks would again be allowed to import gold on a “consignment basis”, under which they act as intermediaries and don’t pay for the stock until a buyer has been found, which is usually quickly.


Union Budget 2015-16 India Pre-Update : Speaker calls meeting of leaders For Budget Session

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has called a meeting of leaders of political parties on February 22 to ensure smooth run of the Budget Session during which the government will also seek to convert six recent ordinances into legislations.

Parliament sources said Mahajan has convened a meeting of leaders of political parties over dinner on February 22, the eve of the Session, to ensure a smooth session.

The session, which will begin on February 23 and conclude on May 8, will see presentation of the first full-fledged budget of the Narendra Modi government which came to power in May last year.

During the session, government will push for passage of Bills on six ordinances promulgated recently. The ordinances include those on coal, mines and minerals, e-rickshaws, amendment to Citizenship Act, Land Acquisition and the one on FDI in insurance sector.

The government is especially under pressure to legislate the ordinance on insurance sector and the coal sector in view of the fact that the new systems in place for attracting FDI in insurance and for auctioning of coal blocks are not disturbed.

Amongst the bills government proposes to introduce, include Amendments to Whistleblowers Protection Act, The Rights to Services and Grievances Redress Bill, Amendment to Inter-state Water Dispute Act, The Carriage by Air (Amendment) Bill, The Recognition of New Systems of Medicine Bill, Amendment to the National Commission for Women Act, and Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation (Second Amendment) Bill, the sources said.

BJP’s poor showing in the Delhi Assembly polls is likely to have a bearing on the Session with opposition parties expected to make a common cause on issues like Land Acquisition ordinance which they are opposing tooth and nail.
The fourth session of 16th Lok Sabha will commence on Monday, when President Pranab Mukherjee will address both Houses of Parliament assembled together in the Central Hall at 11 AM.

The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, which met on January 21, had recommended to the President the schedule of the Budget Session. Parliament will have a special sitting on Saturday, a holiday, for Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to present the Budget which will be preceded by the Economic Survey on February 27 and the Railway Budget on February 26.

The Motion of Thanks to the President for his address will be debated on February 24 and 25.


Union Budget 2015-16 India Expectation : FIIs, FPIs to be exempted from MAT this Union Budget

The countdown to the Union Budget, one of the most critical event for the Modi government, has started. With barely 10 days before the macro event, expectations are sky-high ranging from clarity on goods and services tax (GST), expanding tax base, corporate tax, etc.

In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Sudhir Kapadia, National Tax Leader, EY says he expects the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to announce the exemption of minimum alternate tax (MAT) from both foreign institutional investors (FIIs) and foreign portfolio investors (FPIs).

“The intent is not to create books of accounts in India and include it in the tax net. So, why should there be a need to set up offshore accounts of these companies if we don’t need their taxable presence,” asks Kapadia.

Furthermore, he believes the corporate tax rate should come down to 30 percent from the existing 33.99 percent.

Sachin Menon, COO-Head Indirect Tax, KPMG and Dinesh Kanabar, CEO, Dhruva Advisors, say a clear roadmap on GST and revision in exemption limits can be expected from the upcoming Budget.


Union Budget 2015-16 India Pre-Update : India to unveil more reforms in Budget 2015: Sushma Swaraj

The new Indian government will unveil more reforms in the coming days, including in the forthcoming Budget this month to woo foreign investment and make India a manufacturing destination, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said.
Addressing a gathering of the Indian diaspora here in the Omanese capital, Swaraj said numerous initiatives have been announced starting with Prime Minister’s ‘Make in India’ campaign to make India an investment and manufacturing destination.
Similarly, the last Budget in 2014 had set up an NRI Fund to clean and develop river Ganga and the government has embarked on the Digital India programme.
The Government has invited both foreigners and NRI entrepreneurs to come and join in these efforts, she said while on her first visit to the oil-rich Gulf nation.
She highlighted the government’s 100 Smart Cities project which was open for participation. Further, foreign investment caps have been eased in construction, railways and defence sectors, the minister said.
“The new government is committed to development with transparency and good governance. We are striving to revive growth. The impact is already evident in the green shoots of recovery and a positive, even upbeat, business sentiment in the country,” she said.
The senior BJP leader also said the last general election was a landmark one in which the people gave an absolute majority to a single party after three decades.
“India firmly believes that overseas Indian must be a part of the India growth story,” the minister said while lauding the role of NRIs in boosting India’s economic growth. “Your sustained remittances over the years have contributed to our foreign exchange reserves and are a valuable livelihood source for millions of dependents in India. India is a recipient of the largest global remittances sent by the expatriate populations anywhere in the world and the Gulf region is the largest source of these remittances for us,” she said.
Swaraj’s maiden visit to Oman comes as the two countries are gearing up to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties this year. The minister also unveiled a logo to mark the 60th anniversary of bilateral ties with Oman.

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