The Finance Minister is set to present the union budget on February 1, 2021. Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman has already said that it will be a "Budget like never before," indicating that the Centre would take all necessary steps to boost the economy badly hit by the pandemic. The expectation from the common man is also high. Some of the expectations of the common man from the Budget 2021 are.
- Hike in the exemption limit under section 80C
Experts are of the opinion that the Government is likely to increase the Section 80C limit to ₹2.50 lakh in the Union Budget. Presently as per Section 80 CCE the deductions available under Section 80C, 80CCC, and 80 CCD(1) put together are capped at ₹1.50 lakh per year. This limit of ₹1.50 lakh was revised from ₹1 lakh in 2014. Various bodies have asked limit needs to be increased from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.
- Exemption on medical insurance may be hiked.
With the Covid-19 pandemic hitting hard and medical insurance coverage found to be inadequate for families, the deduction for medical coverage for non-senior citizens should be increased from Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000 and for senior citizens from Rs 50,000 to Rs 75,000.
- Leave Travel Concession (LTC) Cash Voucher Scheme
The government had announced the LTC Cash Voucher Scheme by which the eligible LTC amount can be utilized for the purchase of goods/services (with a GST rate of 12% or more) through digital mode. It is expected that the government will continue this scheme as a measure to increase consumption thereby helping the economy.
- Benefits to the Real Estate sector
The nationwide lockdown led to a substantial fall in the fair market values of the property. However, the stamp duty value/circle rates of such properties have remained the same as it is calculated on the value of the property by virtue of anti-abuse provisions under the Income Tax Act. The government may introduce amendments in such a manner that taxes will be calculated on such reduced fair market value. .
- Long-term capital gains on equity shares and equity mutual funds
Long-term capital gains from the sale of listed equity shares and equity mutual funds is tax-exempt up to Rs 1 lakh. Further, the gain above Rs 1 lakh is subjected to tax at 10% (plus applicable surcharge and cess) without the benefit of indexation. The government should look at increasing the exemption limit from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakhs for retail investors.
- Incentivising purchase of electric vehicles
The government had incentivized the purchase of electric vehicles by providing a deduction under section 80EEB of the Act for interest paid up to Rs 1.5 lakh on loans taken, It is expected that the government may offer more incentives for promoting e-vehicles like providing a deduction for interest paid up to Rs 1 lakh on loans taken.
- Deduction for conserving the environment
With climate change being inevitable and a hot topic, incentivizing the use of environment-friendly products such as solar heaters, solar lamps, wind energy, bio-toilets, solar mobile chargers, etc. by individuals and households has also become necessary. This will give a boost to the clean technology industry and encourage innovations.