New Delhi [India], Feb 1 (ANI): Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said the government wants to simplify the income tax process, increase compliance and place money in the hands of people.
“We wanted to place money in the hands of the people, particularly the middle class and lower-middle classes. We also wanted to simplify the income tax process and increase compliance,” Sitharaman said at a press conference here while speaking on the option of lower income tax rates.
Elaborating on the budget, she said: “To improve consumption demand, private investment, and public spending and since revenue side could not be pressed further, without violating FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management), we had to relax fiscal deficit target by 0.5%.”
“Corporate tax cut and benefit derived by new companies, as well as improved GST collections will improve revenue generation and give the comfort to bring down fiscal deficit next year, with disinvestment too improving,” the minister said.
Speaking on the changes in the Income Tax Act, Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey said” “We have made changes in the Income Tax Act where if an Indian citizen stays out of the country for more than 182 days, he becomes a non-resident. So we have made some changes, now in order to become non-resident he has to stay out of the country for 240 days.”
“Some people are residents of no country. They may be staying in different countries for a certain number of days. So if any Indian citizen is not a resident of any country in the world, he’ll be deemed to be a resident of India and his worldwide income will be taxed,” he said.
Earlier today, during her budget speech, Sitharaman had said, “Around 70 of more than 100 income tax deductions and exemptions have been removed, in order to simplify the tax system and lower tax rates.” Substantial tax benefit will accrue to individual taxpayers under the new personal income tax regime, she added.
Rs 99,300 crore for education sector in 2020-21, says FM
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday proposed a total outlay of Rs 99,300 crore for the education sector in 2020-21 and Rs 3,000 crore for skill development.
“By 2030, India is set to have the largest working-age population in the world. We propose a total outlay of Rs 99,300 crore for the education sector in 2020-21 and Rs 3,000 crore for skill development,” said Sitharaman while presenting the budget.
Sitharaman announced that about 150 higher educational institutions will start apprenticeship embedded degree and diploma courses by March 2020-21 to improve the employability of students in the general stream.
While the government will also start a program whereby urban local bodies across the country would provide internship opportunities to fresh engineers for a period of up to one year, the National Skill Development Agency (NDS) will give special thrust to infrastructure-focused skill development opportunities, the Minister said.
Stating that a ‘150 higher educational institutions will be announced soon, she said: “Steps will be taken to enable sourcing external commercial borrowings and Foreign direct investment to ensure a greater inflow of finance to attract talented teachers, innovate and build better labs.”
She said degree level full-fledged online education program will be started to provide quality education to students of deprived sections of the society as well as those who do not have access to higher education.
The online education program will be offered only by institutions that are ranked within the top 100 in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF).
Observing that India should be a preferred destination for higher education, she said: “An Ind-SAT exam under the “Study in India” program is proposed to be held in Asian and African countries for benchmarking foreign candidates who receive scholarships for studying in Indian higher education centers.”
In order to meet the requirement of qualified medical doctors, the Finance Minister proposed to attach a medical college to an existing district hospital in public-private partnership (PPP) model.
Sitharaman stated that a huge demand exists for teachers, nurses, paramedical staff and caregivers abroad.
“In view of this, special bridge courses may be designed jointly by the Ministries of Health and Skill Development along with professional bodies to match the employer’s standards as well as meet the language requirements of various countries”, she added.
A national police university and a national forensic science university have also been proposed in the domain of policing science, forensic science and cyber-forensics in the budget.