Repercussions of Jaitley’s budget on Indian diaspora in Oman

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Oman: The Indian expatriates in Oman hailed India’s annual budget of 2016-17 which was presented by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday in New Delhi. Expats said that easing of customs declaration and an increase of free baggage allowance will be helpful for Indians living outside the country.

The latest budget also proposed to amend provisions dealing with the Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) of the Non-Resident Indians, which are currently subjected to a higher rate for NRIs without the permanent account number (PAN) card. The proposed amendment will ensure that higher rate of TDS is not imposed on furnishing alternate documents.

The budget also makes an ease on custom baggage rules for international passengers. “The filing of baggage declaration will be required only for those passengers, who carry dutiable goods,” Jaitley said in his budget speech.

“Expats had also hoped for a simplification of income tax processes and more relief on TDS. Besides, there is nothing on housing or an immediate relief in prices of basic commodities and personal taxes to create savings for the future for us,’’ said Sunil Kumar, an Indian expat living in Oman.

Yusuffali MA, Chairman of Lulu Group, the largest retail chain in the Middle East said that Jaitley is clearly highlighting the growth pillars of the economy by insuring rural, social, agriculture, skill, business and tax reforms. He also described it as a sensible budget which will make a positive impact on many sectors.

“I am happy that the government has stressed on the ‘Make in India’ campaign by providing tax and duty benefits and these will go a long way in strengthening the manufacturing capabilities and infrastructure facilities of India. The Finance Minister’s focus on agriculture was keenly awaited and will enhance expenditure on the rural and agriculture sectors, which in turn will enhance food security and boost exports. According to me, the ‘three years of tax holiday’ for start-ups is one of the most exciting announcements of this budget. The next generation of skilled entrepreneurs are our future and this will bring in the much-needed impetus. Another highlight would be the 100 per cent FDI (foreign direct investment) in food processing business. This will be news to many international players, who are looking to set up business in India and we all must welcome this.”

“Being a retailer, obviously, I am pleased to note that the minister mentioned retail as the largest service sector employer in the country and many more jobs opportunities can be created, provided the regulations are simplified. From a common NRI’s point of view, the easing of customs declaration and increasing of free baggage allowance are a welcome step,” Yusuffali added.

Reacting to the budget, K V Shamsudheen, the chairman of Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust, while speaking about the third budget, said that it focused on total infrastructure development including agriculture, health, social development, education, and daily life of the common people. Under the budget 2016-17, the government has targeted to double the income of farmers by 2022 (Fifteen per cent of India’s economy is based on the agriculture sector).

“This will change the face of India by making it an economic super power in the future. Indian diaspora’s remittances are among the world’s highest and NRIs contribute a big amount towards the foreign currency reserve of the country. “We have been proposing to the government to utilize NRIs’ financial resources, expertise, experience and business contacts for the development of the country,” he said.

He added: “We have two important initiatives ‘Make in India’ and the ‘National Skill Development Mission,’ which can be developed successfully with the participation of NRIs. Even though we are keen on this proposal,” he added.

According to the current price chart, a female passenger can hold only 32 grams of gold jewellery and a male passenger can take only 16 grams of gold jewellery with them, which is too little.

All the items carry from abroad are based on quantity but gold is based on value.

“So, we request allowance for gold jewellery to be raised to 50 grammes for male passengers and 100 grammes for female passengers and also request that gold allowance is based on weight as per the rule,” Shamsudheen said.

Lateef Shahdad, a Chartered Marketer said that it is the time to see the implementation of the budget, said it is a ‘rational one’ and expressing approval for the number of measures.

(With inputs from Times of Oman)