The Budget 2018 has good news for salaried women, and the government categorically announced helping women to come to the formal sector to work.

For Women in Business

  • The Health and Education Cess has increased to 4% from the present 3%

For Stock Market Investments

  • By removing Long-term Capital Gain Exemption, the government has made all stock market investment gains taxation

Women Budget 2018 – Mixed bag, good for salaried women.

Relief for Women in SMEs

  • It reduces the tax rate to 25% for the companies having turnover of 250 crores or less (P.Y. 2016-17), brings Standard Deduction of INR 40,000 and brings tax benefits for senior citizens.

Women Empowerment

  • Though much-expected tax rate relaxation is not given to women in the Budget yet, Modi Government has kept up with its objective of bringing women to the forefront of the economy.
  • To incentivize employment of more women in the formal sector and to enable higher take-home wages, under Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 the women employees’ contribution have been reduced to 8% for first three years of their employment. The existing rate of 12% or 10% with no change in employers’ contribution.
  • To promote women entrepreneurs in main stream the allocation of Loans to Self Help Groups (SHGs) of women has been increased to about Rupees 42,500 crore in 2016-17 (37% over previous year).

Education

  • Budget proposes to increase the digital intensity in education and move gradually from ‘‘black board’’ to ‘‘digital board’’.
  • Technology will be used to upgrade the skills of teachers through the recently launched digital portal ‘‘DIKSHA’’.
  • To step up investments in research and related infrastructure in premier educational institutions, including health institutions, it is proposed to launch a major initiative named ‘‘Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) by 2022’’ with a total investment of  Rs 1,00,000 crore in next four years.

Health

“Swasth Bharat is Samriddha Bharat” Major initiatives have been proposed as part of ‘‘Ayushman Bharat’’ programme aimed at making path-breaking interventions to address health holistically, in a primary, secondary and tertiary care system covering both prevention and health promotion.

Affordable Housing

It is proposed to dedicated Affordable Housing Fund (AHF) in National Housing Bank, funded from priority sector lending shortfall and fully-serviced bonds authorized by the Government of India.

Digital and Fintech

With its continued promotion to digital India, Mr Jaitley in his speech mentioned that a group in the Ministry of Finance is examining the policy and institutional development measures needed for creating the right environment for Fintech companies to grow in India.

  • While saying strict no to cryptocurrency government is pragmatic in its approach to promoting the Digital and Fintech. The allocation on Digital India programme has been doubled to 3073 crores in 2018-19.
  • Also, it is proposed to launch a Mission on Cyber-Physical Systems to support the establishment of centres of excellence.
  • To enhance the use of digital the system of toll payments physically by cash at road toll plazas is being fast replaced with Fastags and other electronic payment systems to make road travel seamless.

Financing through Bonds

It is considered to mandate, beginning with large Corporates, to make it compulsory to meet about one-fourth of their financing needs from the bond market. Also, reform measures with respect to stamp duty regime and to establish a unified authority for regulating all financial services in IFSCs in India is proposed.

Overall, the Budget 2018 is a realistic budget with the big bang Healthcare announcements (which is a move towards universal health coverage), a Tax incentive for International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), Incentivisation of Micro, small and medium entrepreneurs. However, measures, like taking away of LTCG and the levying of a tax on long-term capital gains (exceeding Rs 1 lakh at 10% without allowing the benefit of any indexation) and tax on distributed income from the equity-oriented mutual fund at the rate of 10%, hurt the sentiments negatively.

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