All eyes were on the Finance Minister as he delivered his fifth full Union Budget – the last one before the general elections in 2019. As expected, the budget turned out to be populist and sounded excessively cautious while the need of the hour was to provide a positive boost to the economy, which is reeling under the pressure of structural changes and policy reforms.
The Budget did not offer any substantial incentives to individual taxpayers, with slabs remaining constant. A change in the standard tax deduction in lieu of transport and medical expenses, which now stands at INR 40,000, was the only gift to the salaried class. There was no change in tax savings on home loans, nor were the 80C limits raised. While this put paid to any hopes for significantly increased home buying appetite, there were some notable announcements with positive implications for the real estate sector:
In a nutshell, while there were not many takeaways for the individual taxpayers, the Budget also did not seem to favour any particular sector. With fiscal deficit slipping to around 3.5% of GDP in 2017-18, the Government seems to be on the right path of taking charge of things and ensuring that the fiscal deficit target of 3.3% of GDP for 2018-19 is achieved.
Authored By: Anuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants
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