The American Chamber of Commerce Eastern Region organised the live screening of the Budget Speech by the Hon’ble Finance Minister at ‘The Bengal Club’ on 29th February 2016. The budget speech was attended by AmCham members viz industrialist from various sectors and tax experts from the Big Four.
Mr. Dinesh Agarwal (Chairman of AmCham Eastern Region and Partner, Tax & Regulatory Services, Ernst & Young LLP) welcomed the members and post the budget speech by the Finance Minister, invited reactions of members from industry. The overall reaction of the members was that there is much talk about “Make in India” and the Finance Minister’s proposal to provide benefit of tax free initial years for the start-ups and reduced rate of corporate tax for new manufacturing companies would provide support to the initiative. Moreover, the focus of the budget was majorly on the agricultural sector including benefits for farmers and social sector and spending on these two priorities should result in increase in employment.
In addition to the above comments, experts from the Big Four shared their views on personal tax, corporate tax, international tax, and indirect tax proposals.
On the direct tax front, as per Mr. Dinesh Agarwal, “The introduction of POEM which was likely to be introduced from 1 April 2015 has been deferred for one year which is a good move. He also mentioned that the intention of the government is to take more tax from super rich which is evident from increase in rate of surcharge on super rich individual from 12% to 15% and levy of 10% tax on individuals having dividend income of more than INR 10 lakhs.” Though the above were the first reaction and observations on the Finance Minister’s speech, Mr .Dinesh Agarwal said that to know the intricacies of the above proposals, the fine print need to be seen.
On the indirect tax proposals, Mr. Pulak Saha shared his views and summed up the list of items which would now become expensive like cigarettes, SUV cars, branded clothes, etc.
The event was concluded with the vote of thanks by Mr. Suranjan Bhanja.