The Budget 2013 will be placed in the Parliament on February 28. Though the Budget this year is expected to be exceptionally austere, the corporate honchos have dished out their wishlists. Here are a few:
Auto sector wishlist : Abdul Majeed, Partner -- PricewaterhouseCoopers
The Union Budget is less than two weeks away and the automotive industry is hoping that it will signal good news for the sector.
Leading the wish list is a road map on the government’s much-delayed plans for implementing GST.
The industry expects that, after this budget, India will finally move towards a uniform GST model.
Making headlines now is the possibility of a diesel tax being introduced in the pre-budget period. The auto industry is already reeling under sluggish demand.
We hope the FM refrains from imposing an additional levy on the personal auto segment. This will bring some relief to auto players who have significant diesel variants in their portfolio.
A key expectation from the sector is a reduction of excise duty and service tax on passenger cars and two-wheelers to encourage consumer buying.
The FM, with the objective of aligning the rate structure to the overall GST framework, has increased the basic excise duty and service tax rate by 2 per cent.
While the Indian economy is currently recovering from an inflationary cycle, any further proposed hike in the excise duty and service tax could push the economy back into the inflationary mode.
The steep increase in the excise duty for large cars would lead auto players dealing in big cars to relook at their budgets.
Looking beyond just the sector, we believe the focus of the budget this year should continue be on infrastructure.
The FM must also increase the budgetary allocation towards the National Highways and Development Project. Of course, this impetus to infrastructure development will act as stimulus to the demand in the auto industry, especially for commercial vehicles.
Oil and Gas sector wishlist: Deepak Mahurkar, Leader Oil & Gas, PwC India
All petroleum sector transactions be included to become eligible for classical GST benefit Natural gas and coal bed methane are proposed to be included in the 'mineral oil' category, in order to qualify for the tax holiday period.
Power generators seldom import LNG themselves, hence custom duty of 0% be allowed for power sector without restriction on who imports.
Clear guidelines on CST/sales tax are requested in case of gas swapping to avoid double taxation.
Goods required to build natural gas pipelines be allowed benefit under section 8(I)(b) within section 8(3) of CST act. (i.e. against form C, CST of 2% is applicable) Tax exemption sunset for refinery under 80 (IB) (9) be extended to March 2015 instead of March 2012.
Heads of post well head costs be clarified for computation of well head price as base for royalty on gas.
North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy be made applicable to the E&P industry.
Healthcare sector wish list: Dr Rana Mehta, Leader Healthcare, PwC India
• To address geographical access, extension in tax holiday should be increased from current five years period to 10 years time frame for establishing healthcare facilities in non metros.
It is also required to provide relaxation in minimum bed capacity from 100 to 50 beds to enhance outreach of other healthcare formats such as diagnostics, day care surgery centres & clinics etc
• Skilled human resource availability is critical to the growth of healthcare in India.
The year 2013 is expected to focus on additional budget allocation to the National skill development council which will help in training paramedical and ancillary staff.
• Establishing Healthcare REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) to mitigate high real estate cost & ensuring gains exemptions for assets transferred to the Real Estate Company
• Enhancing the limit of deduction towards payment of medical insurance premium from existing INR 15,000 to INR 50,000 for self and family and the current annual limit of Rs 20,000 for dependent parents also needs to be enhanced to Rs 50,000.
Partha Iyengar, Country Manager -- Research, India
The IT industry has reached a tipping point in terms of scale and maturity today, where the issues it is grappling with as the next impediment to growth do not have to do with granular industry level issues like taxation, ‘sops’ etc.
The issues that will enable or inhibit the next level of growth for the industry have to do with fundamental country level issues like infrastructure improvements, education, skills development, streamlined regulatory procedures and improving the investment climate.
Therefore, I would look at increased focus on budget allocations or clarity of future direction of the government on these macro issues as indicators for the future success of the IT industry.
Kailash Katkar, MD and Chief Executive Officer, Quick Heal Technologies
To my opinion, the Union Budget for 2012-13 should incorporate policies and measures to develop the domestic software industry and also focus on encouraging software products segment in the country by protecting it from foreign competition in the domestic market.
The government should promote Indian software products to develop more Intellectual property for India.
The current ecosystem is designed to take care only of service providers and we are losing out on benefits which can accrue from a vibrant product development industry in the software domain.
Right now the lack of a strong framework in protecting software intellectual property is damaging the overall reputation of the Indian IT industry across the globe.
During the tenure of Late Rajiv Gandhi's prime minister ship.
A lot of new initiatives were introduced in the software industry.
This was done to encourage software services and it propelled the domestic productivity.
The situation is a lot worse today.
India has now been ranked among the worst and awarded lowest scores for copyrights, patents and other intellectual property by the US Chamber of Commerce.
Currently, there is a lack of stringent policies and the government perhaps is overlooking the connection between software exports and Indian software products.
India is losing out on the competitive edge because of this situation.
A lot can be done to develop an ecosystem in providing strong Indian software products and intellectual property protection.
This will not only fortify the Indian software industry but will also create more patents, Trade Mark, intellectual property and copyrights and increase tax revenues.