I am looking forward to this Budget for several reasons – but mostly because the global economic environment is calling for important initiatives in India that will lead us to continued growth
To begin with, the Government must continue the good work begun last year - where we moved to a negative list taxation regime for service tax purposes. This has led to overlap of VAT and service tax in certain situations. The Finance Minister can look at alleviating this hardship and higher costs for customers as this is against the spirit of GST. Industry has been waiting for the GST regime – and perhaps it is time for some provisions which advance the structure and spirit of GST, to be brought into this Budget in the interim.
Furthermore, the precarious global fiscal situation around the globe and adverse forex movement for Indian importers, make it imperative that Government supports the industry with regulatory, tax and trade incentives. We can ill afford to lose the momentum gained in earlier years by not addressing the bottlenecks in our trade ecosystem, in turn allowing other fast emerging economies to capitalise on global opportunities.
Lastly - a conducive environment is imperative today, where ecosystem players come together to promote citizen benefits in sectors such as healthcare, education, IT and telecom, power and infrastructure. Budgetary allocations and policy reforms promoting local innovation, greater collaboration between industry players and the government and creating an environment for new investments in key development sectors is the need of the hour.
(The author is Managing Director, Xerox India)