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After note-cull, budget could see tax rejig, cheaper farm loans

business Updated: Nov 22, 2016 10:55 IST
Mahua Venkatesh

Finance minister Arun Jaitley on his way to present the Budget for 2016-17.(Hindustan Times)

It could well be the calm after the storm.

The Union Budget 2017-18, slated to be presented on February 1, is set to bring in good news for the salaried class, as well as for those engaged in small businesses and the agriculture sector.

New tax slabs for the common man, cheaper loans for farmers and more money for public expenditure are likely to be on the cards, sources in know of the development said.

The focus will be on making the budget a people-friendly one, which will have “good news for all sections”, especially following the uproar over the government’s recent demonetisation exercise, said the sources quoted above.

The NDA government has come under severe attack from the Opposition after the announcement of the demonetisation drive. Opposition parties have claimed that the poor have been the worst impacted.

The finance ministry kicked off the pre-budget consultation meetings on Saturday.

“It will be a budget for everybody. Every section of the society will have something to be happy about. Talks (on the budget) have just started, so nothing is concrete, but that is the broad objective,” an official source who did not wish to be identified told HT.

The demonetisation exercise, announced on November 8, has led to a severe cash crunch, with R500 and R1,000 notes being sucked out of the market. However, the move has led to a surge in bank deposits. It is also expected to bring in more people into the tax net.

“Surely the government will come up with announcements that are people-centric... We can expect tax rates to come down. Tax collections this year will be good and overall with the huge deposits, there will be enough scope and elbow room,” said Soumya Kanti Ghosh, chief economic adviser, State Bank of India.