The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on 1 February 2017 presented the Union Budget 2017 in the Lok Sabha. In the independent India, this will be the 87th budget and the third of the Modi Sarkar.
The Budget 2017 has identified digital economy as one of the key drivers of the economy. Accordingly, Finance Minister Arun Jailtley announced following initiatives:
• The Finance Minister informed that the Union Government has accepted a suggestion by Special Investigation Team on Black Money to ban cash transactions above Rs 3 lakhs. An amendment to the Income-tax Act has been proposed in the Finance Bill.
• The Government will launch two new Schemes to promote the usage of BHIM App. These two schemes are Referral Bonus Scheme for individuals and a Cashback Scheme for merchants.
• It was also informed by the Finance Minister that 125 lakh people have adopted the BHIM app so far.
• A merchant version of Aadhar Enabled Payment System, named as Aadhar Pay, will be launched shortly. The system will be beneficial for those who do not have debit cards, mobile wallets and mobile phones.
• A Mission will be set-up with a target of 2500 crore digital transactions for 2017-18 through UPI, USSD, Aadhar Pay, IMPS and debit cards.
• Banks have targeted to introduce additional 10 lakh new PoS terminals by March 2017. They will be encouraged to introduce 20 lakh Aadhar based PoS by September 2017.
• It has been proposed that the presumptive income tax for small and medium tax payers whose turn-over is up to Rs 2 crore will be reduced from the present 8 per cent of their turnover, which is counted as presumptive income, to 6 per cent in respect of turnover which is received by non-cash means.
• Arun Jaitley also proposed to limit the cash expenditure allowable as deduction, both for revenue as well as capital expenditure, up to Rs 10000.
• The limit of cash donation which can be received by a Charitable Trust is being reduced from Rs 10000 to Rs 2000.
• It has been proposed to exempt BCD, Excise/CV duty and SAD on miniaturised POS card reader for m-POS, micro ATM standards version 1.5.1, Finger Print Readers/Scanners and Iris Scanners.
• It has been proposed to create a Payments Regulatory Board in the Reserve Bank of India(RBI) by replacing the existing Board for Regulation and Supervision of Payment and Settlement Systems.
• Steps would be taken to promote and possibly mandate petrol pumps, fertilizer depots, municipalities, Block offices, road transport offices, universities, colleges, hospitals and other institutions to have facilities for digital payments, including BHIM App.
• The Union Governemnt also plans to encourage SIDBI to refinance credit institutions, which provide unsecured loans, at reasonable interest rates, to borrowers based on their transaction history.