Come Budget-time, and the media is rife with rumours about which taxes will be raised or lowered, and the direction in which the government might make fresh public investment.
This year is no different – although the corporate sector seems to be a little more relaxed than it has usually been in the past on Budget eve.
It's not only the various industry lobbies that push their demands on the government through the media. The government too does some kite flying, to see how the public (or sections of industry) might react to plans on the anvil.
Sometimes very few of the rumours turn out to be true. They end up as nothing but wishful thinking, or statements of a utopian dream.
But which of the rumours will turn out to be true and which will be falsified this time?
We'll never know, will we, until Budget day?
We thought it might be an interesting exercise to list the various rumours and speculations on government plans, along with industry demands floating around, and then see how they actually fare on budget day. Catch the score on 29 February 2008!
Watch this space for the expectations from Energy and Infrastructure, and we'll keep adding to it as and when new ideas are floated. Those doing the rounds till now, are listed below:
- The government is expected to raise the limit for Viability Gap Funding (VGF) to 30 per cent from the existing 20 per cent, for urban transport systems such as metro, monorail and road rapid transport system. The VGF is a one-time grant by the government to an infrastructure project that has a long gestation period, in order to improve its viability.
- A survey by FICCI says that the government is expected to announce a new fund for providing subsidised loans to companies for the adoption of energy-efficient and non-oil technologies.
- The government is expected to continue issuing special bonds to food, fertiliser and fuel companies, as subsidy compensation which mandates them to sell products below-market prices in order to make them affordable to the economically weaker sections of society, and to contain inflation pressures.
- Oil companies are seeking a review on the customs and excise duty structure on oil and oil products.
- The 5 per cent customs duty for liquefied natural gas used as fuel in power generation projects is likely to be withdrawn.
- The government may extend tax exemption for companies setting up large power projects by seven years to 2017.