Ahead of the parliamentary budget session set to commence from January 29, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar called for an all-party meeting on January 28. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is scheduled to present the Union Budget 2018 before the Parliament on February 1, the last full year budget before the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
This year, the government is expected to bring some changes in the tax slabs. Last year, the finance minister had announced to reduce the lowest tax rates from 10 per cent to 5 per cent, thus giving a benefit of around Rs 12,500 to all taxpayers. However, this year, it is expected that the tax-free ceiling of the individuals might be increased from the existing Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3/ 3.5 lakh.
The government is also expected to move on the direct tax front now after the implementation of biggest indirect tax reform GST. Last November, the Centre had appointed a task force to reform the Direct Tax Laws, headed by top revenue department official Arbind Modi. The changes are expected to bring relief to individual taxpayers.
The government may also consider increasing the limits specified under Section 80D from Rs 80,000 to Rs 1 lakh, on the note of insurance industry’s request to improve medical insurance penetration in the country. The Union Budget may also assert for NPS and digitisation.
The budget session will start with the address of President Ram Nath Kovind on January 29. The first phase of the session will continue from January 29 to February 9, after a recess, it will be held from March 5 to April 6.