Infrastructure & Safety

Budget 2015-16: Tourism – more nations under VoA

DELHI

Given the Prime Minister’s high voltage focus on tourism being one of the five main planks of growth, much was expected from the first full budget by the new government.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented his first full budget with a huge cache of expectation on him.

Tourism however did not get as much attention as expected. However most expect that a boost to the economy would help the sector.

He said there was considerable success of visa on arrival scheme. He want to extend this to 150 countries in stages.

The FM proposed for this year to develop the following heritage sites – old churches in Goa, Varanasi temple town, Qutubshahi tombs, Elephanta Caves, Jallianwala Bagh, Leh palace, etc. A specific corpus for step which he would be continued in following years, was not announced. This announcement was followed by howls of protest from the benches, possibly by members of states which did not have listed sites.

The FM proposes tax overhaul to allow REIT listing, something that could impact new hospitality projects.

A Rs 20,000 crore annual infrastructure fund has been established, which should help the tourism and hospitality sectors.

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A Rs 1,200 crore for fast track corridor between Ahmedabad and Mumbai is expected to provide new opportunities to the tourism and hospitality sectors.

Jaitley proposed tax free bonds for projects in rail, road and infrastructure. The FM said that the country will need to build additional 1 lakh km of roads. Road Outlays To Increase By Rs 14,031 Cr In FY16.

A Rs 1,000 alloaction to increase security under the Nirbhaya Fund may also help improve security and the country’s image in this regard.

Yoga, described by him as a gift to the world, will be decreed as a charitable act!

There will be 100% tax deduction for Swachh Bharat and Clean Ganga schemes.

Jaitley has announced a roadmap to achieve fiscal deficit of 3% of GDP in three years: The target is 3.9% in 2015-16, 3.5% in 2016-17, 3% in 2017-18.

Among the other highlights of the budget was the announcement of a new Indian Ashoka gold coin, 5 UMPP projects of 4,000 MW each and Rs 70,000 crore for infrastructure fund. A Rs 150 core to create world class IT hub in India has been proposed. The move towards a cashless society is also a significant step.

Musafir Namah Bureau

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