Intellectual Thoughts by Sanjay Panda: February 2011

India General Budget- 2011-12 HIGHLIGHTS

AC hospitals with more than 25 beds under service tax

Domestic travel to pay Rs 50 service tax, Rs 250 on international travel

Health check-up services now attract service tax

No change in Central Value-added Tax rates

No new tax exemption limits for women

Cut in import duties of raw material for mobile phones

Basic food, fuel exempted from central excise duty

Tax sops of Rs 20,000 on infra bonds extended by a year

1% excise duty on 130 new items

Rs 5 lakh tax exemption limit for individuals above 80 years of age

SEZ to come under MAT

Minimum alternative tax raised 185% vs 18%

Tax exemption limit increased to Rs 5 lakh for senior citizens

Eligible age for senior citizens is now 60 years against 65 years earlier

Exemption limit for individual tax payers raised to Rs 1.8 lakh from Rs 1.6 lakh

SC/ST scholarship scheme will benefit about 40 lakh students

Scholarships to SC/ST students in Class IX and X

Social projects spending outlay up 17% to Rs 16 lakh crore

Metro projects in key cities will get financial aid

Short term interest to farmers will continue to be at 7%

New companies bill to be introduced in this session

FII allowed to invest in MF schemes

FII limit in corporate bonds has been raised.

Indian railway Budget 2011-12- Highlights

* No increase in fares.

* Ten-year backlog of 1.75 lakh jobs being addressed; 16,000 ex-servicemen to be given jobs in railways.
* Will add 180 km of rail lines in 2011-12.
* All-India security helpline set up.
* New Durantos to be run on Allahabad-Mumbai, Pune-Ahmedabad, Sealdah-Puri, Secunderabad-Visakhapatnam, Madurai-Chennai routes, among others.
* Rail linkage to Gujarat from Delhi-Mumbai freight corridor.
* Integrated suburban network to be set up in Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad and other cities; suburban system of Hyderabad to be strengthened.
* Mumbai suburban system's EMU coaches to be increased from nine to 12.

* Industrial park to be set up in Nandigram, West Bengal.

* Railways to set up factory in Jammu and Kashmir.

* To set up Metro coach factory at Singur, West Bengal.

* First coach from Rae Bareli factory to roll out in next three months.

* Work on wagon factory in Orissa to begin after land is acquired.

*  Imphal to be soon connected to railway network.

* Centre for excellence in software to be set up at Darjeeling.

* Work started on two dedicated freight corridors.

* Work on upgrading 442 stations to be completed by March 31.

* Multi-purpose smart card to be introduced for all-India travel.

* Airport-like trolleys to be provided at more stations.

* Upgraded class of air conditioned travel to be introduced shortly.

* To adopt modern technology through centres of academic excellence.

* Train to run to Bangladesh to showcase Indian culture.

* Age for senior citizen's concession reduced to 58 from 60.

* Concession for physically handicapped and gallantry award winners for travel in Rajdhani and Shatabdi expresses.