Increased allocation on healthcare, higher spending on public infrastructure, and bringing power under the ambit of Goods and Services Tax (GST) remain some of the key expectations of the infrastructure and energy sectors from the upcoming budget.
“Create fiscal space for public spending up to 1 per cent of GDP for investment in infrastructure projects in areas such as road, rail, ports, airports, waterways, urban infrastructure, industrial parks, freight corridors,” industry chamber Confederation of Indian industry (CII) said in its pre budget consultation with the finance minister.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday met experts in infrastructure, energy and climate change. Representatives of power sectors demanded to bring power under the ambit of GST.
“Bringing power under the ambit of GST – This has been requested through our pre-budget recommendations for several years. It is proposed that the electrical energy may be brought to the GST net with lower rate of GST or keeping it exempt from GST, refund of input credit should be given to the generating/transmission/distribution utility. This is a pending decision from the government,” CII said, while submitting its suggestions. While increasing healthcare infrastructure budget was a common request, the industry also asked the government to put aside fiscal considerations this year when considering its expenditure.
Other requests from the captains of India Inc included special focus on low cost housing, increased allocation under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, special funds for the National Building Construction Corporation to complete stalled projects, incentivise social rental housing and fasttrack the implementation of the National Urban Rental Housing Policy (NURHP).
Imposition of basic customs duty
Industry body CII has also urged the Ministry of Finance in its memorandum submitted on Monday to impose the basic custom duty on solar equipment as announced in the last general budget, stressing that the delay in implementation is impacting investments.