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Budget 2020: In Her Words

"Don't tell me what your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money, and I'll tell you what they are." - James W Frick.

Ever feel managing your money is tricky? Try planning for the entire country for a year. The Union Budget is important, not just on the single day it is announced but for a long time that it impacts us. We asked a few women from various walks of life on what they thought of Budget 2020. Here is what they said:

Economy and Taxes

There has been enough news in 2019 on the global slowdown, and India has been affected too. Expectations ran high for concrete measures to counter slowdown.

"The primary duty of the government and its policymakers is to make the lives of individuals easy. Sadly, the new budget did none of that. Most Indians - like me - were hoping there would be something in the budget that would help revive the sinking economy. Sadly nothing is being done to address the downturn in the market," expressed Jincy Varghese, a Mumbai-Based software engineer.



Economists express that while the budget could possibly help in long term growth, it may not provide an immediate boost to the economy.


Neha Singh, Senior Manager, MakeMyTrip, spoke of the Budget allocation to the tourism sector. "The Finance Minister announced that ₹2,500 Crores will be allocated to the Ministry of Tourism and that ₹3,150 Crores will be allocated to the Ministry of Culture. Being in the travel industry, I believe that this plus the announcement of the development of five on-site museums could lead to a boost in domestic tourism and also interest from international tourists. As these are still theoretical, I would like to see these implemented and the time that might take," she said.

The central topic of discussion post Budget 2020 was the introduction of the new optional tax regime. Responses to this move on income tax have been mixed.


Pratiksha Dake, entrepreneur and co-founder of Rico app said, "The new tax regime will give relief to freelancers who don't claim HRA exemptions and save them a great deal in taxes. I also like the flexibility to tax-payers while choosing the regime. " Speaking about ESOP reforms, Pratiksha went on to add: “I am hopeful that tax deferring on ESOPs will be equally good for founders and employees. It reduces the complexity of exercising ESOPs and avoids double taxation.”

Shipra Baranwal, Head of Member Satisfaction, Asia Pacific, Ten Group, had some different views of the new income tax regime.

"I think while the idea for the government was to simplify taxes for individuals, the introduction of an added option to pay your tax without claiming any tax deductions has left people more confused than before, especially the salaried individuals. Additionally, this budget offers no relief/ benefit to individuals in the highest tax-paying bracket. The changes proposed in the dividend tax regime should go a long way in attracting foreign capital investments."


For a more thorough understanding of the new tax regime, read Basis’ recent explainer.

Startups

India has the third-largest startup ecosystems in the world. The IT industry body, NASSCOM reported that by the end of 2019, Indian startups had created about 60,000 direct jobs and 1.3-1.8 lakh indirect jobs. This explains the interest in regulations for ESOPS (Employee Stock Options).

Deena Jacob, Co-founder and CFO, Open Financial Technologies, said "Support for startup ecosystem with investment clearance cell providing advisory support is a good move to encourage entrepreneurship. While deferring ESOP taxation is a welcome step, the 5-year threshold could dent the usefulness of the change. Decriminalisation of certain provisions of the Companies Act, as well as the thought towards effective implementation of contracts, touch upon two crucial areas of legal complexities today."

Environment

Climate change is a serious concern and experts feel that greater female participation can lead to betterment for the environment.


Sahar Mansoor, Founder of Bare Necessities, said "Climate change is the talk of the minute and was definitely addressed during the budget speech, but a particular POA was missing, which is certainly worrisome. The budget has its pros and cons, but further details need to be fleshed out to understand it comprehensively."


Sahar explained her analysis of the allocations proposed in the budget.

Positive steps

  • An increase of 10.62% over the previous year allocated to the MNRE (Ministry of New and Renewable energy)

  • Reducing farmer dependency on diesel and kerosene and more on solar, mandate to shut down old thermal plants or power plants with emissions above pre-set norms.

Worrisome aspects

  • Increased budget for renewables is still lower than the budget for coal.

  • The budget proposed incentives to states that are eager to implement clean-air plans. These incentives amount to a WAY larger amount than the amount actually allocated to the environment ministry.

Information on the Budget is aplenty and as individuals, we are concerned about aspects that could impact us directly. While the Budget 2020 had aspirational plans, there seems to be a collective desire to see impactful implementation on the ground. #Budget2020 #Taxes #Environment #Startups #Economy

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