Muscat: Non-resident Indians (NRIs) living in the Sultanate of Oman were disappointed with the country’s budget tabled by India’s finance minister in Parliament on Wednesday.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley unveiled a budget that focused on TEC—Transform, Energise and Clean—as the theme of the Union Budget 2017-18. The NRIs living in Oman were expecting that this budget will focus on tax reforms as they face difficulty in claiming tax refunds if they do not have a bank account in India.
“Currently, there is no regularised system for direct remittance of a refund to an NRI’s foreign bank account. Sadly, that (a corrective) didn’t happen,” Dr Anchan C K, International Investment Advisor, said.
Ramachandran Nair, Quality Manager – GAC Oman, said: “I am very disappointed with the budget as there is no mention of (problems faced by an) NRI in the entire budget.
“I feel that the financial budget must always have certain reservations for Indians living abroad. Millions of Indians are spread across the world and their earnings significantly support to sustain the economy of their home country.
“But their concerns do not receive attention in the budget. Whatever people in India enjoy must be equally offered to those living outside the country.”
Praising the finance minister, Dr Anchan C K said: “This budget’s focus is on investments in infrastructure creation. Also, easing private sector’s access to credit will generate jobs and increase productivity.
“More than 90 per cent of FDI inflows are now automated. It is a digital economy budget. The government has pushed the digital theme in every area of the budget. All the people, from those running small shops to consumers, are being pushed towards digital economy. Tax benefits, incentives to use digital payments and extending loans based on a digital footprint will create a larger merchant ecosystem for digital payments.
“It is extremely positive for the common man, farmers, small and medium businesses and would drive significant growth in the Indian economy. The government’s commitment to make taxation rate reasonable, tax administration fair and expand the tax base are steps in the right direction. The tax relief given by the government for the middle class tax payers will definitely boost the purchasing power, thereby aiding the overall growth of the economy,” he said.
Meanwhile,Ramachandran Nair also said: “The budget unveiled today is an attempt to address many issues on which the general public faced challenges following the demonetisation carried out last year.
“After the demonetisation drive in November, the focus shifted to budget and seeing India in a digital perspective.”
Shailesh Dash, Entrepreneur and Founder, Al Masah Capital, said: “I think the Indian budget is a very balanced one and will be very good for the low income group, farmers and women. With almost $60b allocated towards infrastructure spending, this is a good move for the country.”
"The Annual budget exercise of the govt. has increasingly caught the attention of one and all not only in India but also to huge Indian diaspora, who are spread in different parts of the world. Thanks to a large extent the spread of the foot print of both conventional and digital medium."said P. Chandrasekr, Group General Manager of Jawad Sultan Group of Companies.
He added: "The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Committee recommended 3 per cent fiscal deficit for the next three years, keeping in mind the sustainable debt target and need for public investment, fiscal deficit for 2017-18 is targeted at 3.2 per cent of GDP. It is quite gratifying to note that there are decisive movements in that direction. The Government is hoping further to improve upon these fiscal numbers, especially the fiscal deficit, in the next year, through greater focus on quality of expenditure and higher tax realization from the huge cash deposits in Banks, triggered by demonetization. This will catch the eye of foreign investors."
Adeeb Ahamed, Managing Director, Asia Express Exchange, said: “The Union Budget is a well-balanced budget with greater emphasis on the agriculture sector and increased provisions to uplift economic and social conditions in rural India. The agenda to transform, energise and clean India, will allow the government to lead the country towards a brighter future. Abolishing the FIPB policy is a welcome move to add to the continuing efforts to make India an investor friendly destination, in line with the efforts to promote the ‘Make in India’ campaign.
“Reduction of taxes for small and medium enterprises indicates the government’s commitment to encourage and promote the entrepreneurial environment in India. The reduction in taxes for the middle income class is likely to have a twin impact of reduction in taxation burden and expanding the taxpayer base,” he added.
Alkesh Joshi, Director, Tax Advisory Service, E&Y, said: “Currently, an NRI in Oman has to pay taxes only on rental income in India as well as interest earned on bank account in India. Oman and India have a double taxation agreement where Indians can collect certificates of residency in Oman and submit them to Indian tax authorities and bank and enjoy lower level of taxation.”
P Chandrasekr, Group General Manager, Jawad Sultan Group of Companies, said: “A growth oriented budget from an Indian context. Notwithstanding the announcement of demonetisation of high value currency notes in November 2016, the big bang reforms are yet to come. But, this does not take away the good points in this budget.
“Three elements that I liked was a big boost to agriculture where the credit to this sector has fixed the revised limit at 10 lakh crores signifying the growth rate in the industry by 4.1 per cent. Big push to infrastructure growth which resulted in Stock Exchanges reacting very positively wherein the Sensex rose by 486 points on the budget day. Further the fiscal deficit target of 3.2 per cent for 2018 is also a very welcome development. India is likely to be on the shopping list of Foreign Institutional Investors, now that the promised fiscal prudence is well on the way of achievement. Reorganising the Railway budget and integrating with the main one and further removing the classification of planned and non-plan expenditure are some of the welcome simplifications. Did not find anything to be cheered for NRI’s though,” he said.