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Expect Budget 2021 to give impetus to economy: Sanjeev Pendharkar

Sanjeev Pendharkar

Sanjeev Pendharkar

The year 2021 is being looked upon as a year of hope – hope for good health, hope for a life free of restrictions, hope for buoyancy in economy. On the economic front, stock markets are also achieving new heights with the expectation of the economy improving and a taxpayer-friendly Budget along with the introduction of two vaccines for Covid-19.

While various economic packages and reforms announced by the government in 2020 have no doubt kept the economy afloat, Budget 2021 is also being looked upon as a watershed event which is expected to lift and give an impetus to the economy.

Some of the expectations of the common man from the Budget 2021 are as follows:

1. Increase in basic income tax exemption limit and investment limit under section 80C

The basic income tax exemption limit needs to be increased from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. The immediate expectation is to reduce the tax burden of taxpayers. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected everyone in some way or the other. Increasing the basic exemption limit will provide tax respite to individuals ..

2. Increasing section 80D limit for individuals

With the Covid-19 pandemic hitting hard and medical insurance coverage found to be inadequate for families, deduction for mediclaim coverage for non-senior citizens should be increased from Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000 and for senior citizens from Rs 50,000 to Rs 75,000.

3. Residential status for FY 2020-21

Due to the pandemic, the government had notified exemption of certain days for determining residency for FY 2019-20 for individuals who were stranded in India on account of the lockdown and who could not travel outside India. For FY 2020-21 also, the government should issue the necessary clarification providing relief for stranded individuals on account of the pandemic.

4. Deduction for remote working set-up

Covid-19 pandemic brought about a paradigm shift in work culture. Work-from-home (WFH) has become a necessity. Budget 2021 should introduce measures which would provide certain tax benefits for employees. For example, a standard deduction of Rs 50,000 from gross income could be provided (over and above the existing standard deduction from salary) to allow for expenditure by employees who are working from home on ergonomic chairs/furniture, computer equipment, data cards, etc.

5. Long-term capital gains on equity shares and equity mutual funds

Long term capital gains from sale of listed equity shares and equity mutual funds is tax-exempt up to Rs 1 lakh. Further, the gain above Rs 1 lakh is subjected to tax at 10% (plus applicable surcharge and cess) without benefit of indexation. The government should look at increasing the exemption limit from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakhs for retail investors.

6. Deduction for conserving environment

With climate change being inevitable and a hot topic, incentivising use of environment-friendly products such as solar heaters, solar lamps, wind energy, bio-toilets, solar mobile chargers, etc. by individuals and households has also become necessary. Just as the government incentivised purchase of electric vehicles by providing a deduction under section 80EEB of the Act for interest paid up to Rs 1.5 lakh on loans taken, the GOI may consider incentivising the purchase of the above-mentioned environment-friendly products by providing a deduction for interest paid up to Rs 1 lakh on loans taken. This will give a boost to the clean technology industry and encourage innovations.

7. Leave Travel Concession (LTC) Cash Voucher Scheme

Due to the travel restrictions, employees have not been able to avail LTC in the current block period of 2018-2021. Hence, the government introduced the LTC Cash Voucher Scheme as an alternative. The scheme allows cash equivalent to LTC fare and leave encashment to be paid by way of tax-free reimbursement, if the employee opts for this in lieu of one LTC during the block period of 2018 -2021 subject to the below conditions:

? An expenditure is incurred during the period October 12, 2020, to March 31, 2021, for the purchase of goods/services (with GST rate of 12% or more) through digital mode

? The expenditure incurred should be equal to value of leave encashment and thrice the value of the LTC fare

In case the taxpayer spends less than the required amount, the tax exemption will stand reduced proportionately.

The above measures are expected to stimulate consumption and subsequently boost the economy. However, spending three times the value of LTC fare seems high. Therefore, the government may consider reducing the spending required to twice the value of LTC fare. Also, an extension of the scheme for an additional nine months, i.e., up to December 31, 2021 (till the end of the block period of 2018-2021) may be considered.

Budget 2021 Expectations for Ayurveda:

Covid pandemic has forced everyone to do the reality check of the healthcare set up. Coronavirus has also underlined the importance of a strong and proper healthcare system.

Budget 2021 is the perfect time for the Central government to focus on Ayurvedic medicine as the Covid pandemic has made everyone aware of the importance of natural immunity. It has become imperative that some separate budget is assigned to the manufacture, procurement, and marketing of Ayurvedic Medicine.

With an aim to promote new drug discovery in Ayurveda, first-class research facilities are needed to be set up and the government should spend more on research and development in Ayurveda. We are hoping that the Government will provide funds for ayurvedic doctors, practitioners, and scholars to back research and new drug discovery. The government should boost Ayurvedic medicines in line with the Atma Nirbhar Bharat vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In our view, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) should be waived off for products having the license to be sold as Ayurvedic Medicine.

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Deaf and dumb students put up scintillating show at Radio Mirchi’s ‘Utsav @ Zero Mile’ in Nagpur

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Radhika Dhawad | Photographer : Anurag Raut | Nagpur

Amid heavy rains, Nagpur citizens drenched themselves in patriotism during ‘Utsav @ Zero Mile’ organised by Radio Mirchi on Sunday, August 14. What made the event all the more special was when several deaf and dumb students of Deaf and Dumb School, Shankar Nagar, gave a splendid performance on national anthem that reverberated patriotic fervour. Apart from them, students from Delhi Public School also left people completely mesmerised with their incredibly soothing performance with various musical instruments.

Ex-Indian Idol contestant from the city Kaivalya Kejkar regaled the audience with songs including ‘Maula Mere Lele Meri Jaan’ from Chak De! India.

Also read:RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat hoists national flag at Nagpur headquarters

 

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Kids in Nagpur walk ramp in khadi outfits during Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav

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Radhika Dhawad | Photographer : Nitin Mankar | Nagpur

In a rare yet commendable initiative, kids walked the ramp in outfits made in Khadi by designer Durgesh Dixit during Khadi Pride. The ramp walk took place at Sugandh Sabhagruha in Nagpur on Sunday, August 14 in the presence of Central Member of Khadi & Village Industries Commission, Micro Small & Medium Enterprises Jaiprakash Gupta. 

Also read:India’s biggest tribal health project launched in Nagpur; over 10,000 to be screen across Vidarbha

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India’s biggest tribal health project launched in Nagpur; over 10,000 to be screen across Vidarbha

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Radhika Dhawad | Photographer : Anurag Raut | Photographer : Nitin Mankar | Nagpur

Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) along with the Tribal Development Department in Nagpur launched BLOSSOM that was recently inaugurated by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. 

BLOSSOM is an initiative that has been launched to reach out to the remotest tribal villages in districts of Chandrapur, Gondia and Gadchiroli in Maharashtra and screen the people for non-communicable diseases and plan suitable interventions.

Launched at Hotel Centre Point Hotel on World Tribal Day, the initiative BLOSSOM stands for: Breast cancer, Liver and lifestyle diseases, Osteoporosis, Sickle cell, Sexually transmitted infections, and Malnutrition.

Around 22 teams would screen a population of 10,000 tribal people across remote villages in the coming three months.

Also read:Nagpur’s Futala Lake comes alive with chants of Bharat Mata Ki Jai on Independence Day

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