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 with regard to the Pharmaceuticals and Healtcare sectors, and we'll keep adding to it as and when new ideas are floated. Those doing the rounds till now, are listed below:
- Duties on life-saving medicines used in the treatment of cancer, AIDS and diabetes could be exempted.
- The government could extend benefits of a tax holiday on Income under Section 80-IA to all healthcare facilities irrespective of location (urban, semi-urban and district HQ), and not just the rural areas where the scheme exists presently. Also, the limit could be raised to 10 years from the existing five years. This will lead to a greater mobilization of domestic and foreign investments in healthcare sector.
- Specific allowances akin o the investment allowance under Section 32A could be announced in order to provide a fillip to the healthcare service sector.
- Healthcare services may continue to be NOT taxed under services tax,with a view to manage the overall healthcare costs of patients.