India: 2018-2019 Budget Released
India has released its Budget 2018-2019. Among the key points for multinationals addressed by Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley in his budget speech is to take measures to promote the growth of venture capital funds and angel investors.
Jaitley said that the government is committed to infrastructure development, including making “an all-time high allocation to rail and road sectors” and making substantial investments in the country’s telecom infrastructure. The government proposes to establish 500,000 Wi-Fi hotspots to provide broadband access to 50,000,000 rural citizens, and will also “explore use of block chain technology proactively for ushering in digital economy.”
The government also proposes to “develop a world-class international financial services center [IFSC] in India” by exempting the “transfer of derivatives and certain securities by non-residents from capital gains tax” and by charging non-corporate taxpayers operating in the IFC a concessional 9 percent minimum alternate tax (MAT) applicable to corporates.
The budget indicates that, after a pilot program that started in 2016, the government will introduce e-assessment — or the electronic assessment of tax returns — across the country. This will “transform the age-old assessment procedure of the income tax department and … almost eliminate person-to-person contact leading to greater efficiency and transparency.”