• New Delhi: The Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley has said that his Ministry will leverage the India Infrastructure Finance Corporation Limited (IIFCL) to help finance major infrastructure projects, including investments in educational and health infrastructure, on strategic and larger societal benefit considerations.
  • Shri Jaitley said this while presenting the General Budget 2018-19 in Parliament here today. The Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley further said that the Government and market regulators have taken necessary measures for development of monetizing vehicles like Infrastructure Investment Trust (InvIT) and Real Investment Trust (ReITs) in India. The Government would initiate monetizing select CPSE assets using InvITs from next year.
  • He said Reserve Bank of India has issued guidelines to nudge Corporates access bond market. SEBI will also consider GENERAL BUDGET 2018-19 67 mandating, beginning with large Corporates, to meet about one-fourth of their financing needs from the bond market. In India, most regulators permit bonds with the „AA‟ rating only as eligible for investment. The Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley said it is now time to move from „AA‟ to „A‟ grade ratings.
  • The government and concerned regulators will take necessary action for this. He also assured that the Government will take reform measures with respect to stamp duty regime on financial securities transactions in consultation with the states and make necessary amendments the Indian Stamp Act. The Government will establish a unified authority for regulating all financial services in IFSCs in India.
  • Announcing that a provision of Rs. 3794 crore has been provided in the General Budget 2018-19 for the Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs),the Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Shri Arun Jaitley said that this has been done to provide credit support, capital and interest subsidy and innovations to this Sector. Presenting the General Budget 2018-19 in Parliament here today, Shri Jaitley added that an outlay of Rs.7148 crore has been provided for the Textile Sector. Strongly emphasising that creation of job opportunities and facilitating generation of employment has been at the core of policy-making of the Government over the last three years, the Finance Minister mentioned that an independent study conducted recently has shown creation of 70 lakh formal jobs this year. Shri Jaitley pointed out that the Government will contribute 12% of the wages of the new employees in the Employee Provident Fund (EPF) for all the sectors for next three years. The Finance Minister also referred to the extension of the facility of fixed term employment to all sectors. He underlined that the Government will soon announce measures for effectively addressing non-performing assets and stressed accounts of MSMEs. In an effort to reduce tax burden on MSMEs and to create large-scale employment, Shri Jaitley also announced measures to extend the benefit of reduced rate of 25% to companies who have reported turnover up to Rs.250 crore in the Financial Year 2016-17. “This will benefit the entire class of micro, small and medium enterprises which accounts for almost 99% of companies filing their tax returns,” the Finance Minister said. He expressed confidence that the lower Corporate Income Tax rate for 99% will leave companies with higher investible surplus, leading to creation of more jobs. 45 Shri Jaitley, the Finance Minister, laid emphasis on the effort to provide incentive to employment of more women in the formal sector. He added that this will lead to higher takehome salary. “Amendments have been proposed to reduce women employees' contribution to 8% for first three years of their employment against existing rate of 12% or 10% with no change in employers' contribution in the Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952,” Shri Jaitley stated. The Finance Minister announced that the Government is setting up a model aspirational skill centre in every district of the country under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra Programme. Shri Jaitley said that he proposed to onboard Public Sector Banks and corporates on Trade Electronic Receivable Discounting System (TReDS) platform and link it to GSTN. “Online loan sanctioning facility for MSMEs will be revamped for quick decision making by the banks,” he said. Shri Jaitley referred to the review of the refinancing policy and eligibility criteria set by MUDRA for better refinancing of Non-Banking Finance Companies NBFCs. In this regard, he proposed setting a target of Rs.3 lakh crore for lending under MUDRA for 2018-19, as the targets had been exceeded in all previous years. . The Finance Minister also referred to a Group in the Finance Ministry that is examining the policy and institutional development measures needed for creating right environment for Fintech companies to grow. He also stated that additional measures will be taken to strengthen the environment for Venture Capital Funds and for their growth and successful operation of alternative investment funds in the country.
  • The Government has taken up several important reforms for building institutions and improving public service delivery across the country over the last three and a half years. While presenting the General Budget 2018-19 in the Parliament today, the Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Shri Arun Jaitely said while AADHAR has provided identity to every Indian, every enterprise, big or small, also needs a unique ID. The Government will evolve a scheme to assign every individual enterprise in India a unique ID, the Finance Minister announced. Further, capital of the Food Corporation of India will be restructured to enhance equity and to raise long-term debt for meeting its standing working capital requirement. Budgeting of Government of India‟s contribution in equity and debt of the metro ventures floated by the State Governments will also be streamlined, the Finance Minister stated. The Government has approved listing of 14 Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs), including two insurance companies, on the stock exchanges. Shri Jaitely said that the process of acquisition of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation by the ONGC has been successfully completed. Three public sector general insurance companies National Insurance Company Ltd., United India Assurance Company Limited and Oriental India Insurance Company Limited will be merged into a single insurance entity and will be subsequently listed. GENERAL BUDGET 2018-19 50
  • The Finance Minister also announced that the Government will formulate a comprehensive Gold Policy to develop gold as an asset class. The Government will also establish a system of consumer friendly and trade efficient system of regulated gold exchanges in the country. Gold Monetization Scheme will be revamped to enable people to open a hassle-free Gold Deposit Account.

About Sanjay Trivedi

Sanjay Trivedi is honorary editor of Asia Times. He is senior Indian Journalist having vast experience of 25 years. He worked in Janmabhoomi, Vyapar, Divya Bhaskar etc. newspapers and TV9 Channel as well as www.news4education.com. He is serving as Media Officer in Gujarat Technological University, the university which controlling 440 colleges of Engineering, Management, Pharmacy & Architecture colleges in Gujarat.

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