Surrounded by themes of transformation

Abhishek A Rastogi, Partner, Khaitan & Co

Interestingly Budget 2017 kept the agenda surrounded by themes of transformation, energisation and clean from corruption. As expected, only broad announcement with respect to the GST has been made by the Finance Minister in the Budget Speech today.

July 1 has been reiterated as the date for the landmark reform and certainly there is not much scope for extension now. While the roadmap looks clear, the announcement with respect to the draft codes would have provided greater certainty to industry.

The Service tax has not been changed but plethora of changes to abatements and exemptions are expected. This is justified as the transition to the GST is evident. The key exemptions which have been trimmed down need to be looked closely.

Due to the global economy slowdown, there were fears of various goods been dumped into India and accordingly the customs duty was expected to be increased on several goods. Further, with an objective to boost the manufacturing, excise duty concessions were expected. However, changes to the indirect tax rates have been kept minimal.

While the budget was based on lot of data analysis and an element of wit, it was, overall, an average one.