Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said the new tax regime, which offers a rebate on annual income of up to Rs 7 lakh, will leave higher disposable income in the hands of people. Replying to the discussion on Union Budget for 2023-24 in the Lok Sabha, Sitharaman said the Budget astutely balances the requirement of development imperatives within the limits of fiscal prudence.
She said the Budget focuses on the middle class, employment generation, MSME, agri sector, rural population, health and green growth. Sitharaman said the new tax regime announced in the Budget is "very attractive" as the tax exemption limit has been hiked to Rs 3 lakh, from Rs 2.5 lakh earlier. Besides, a standard deduction of Rs 50,000 too has been allowed under the scheme.
This new tax regime will benefit the majority of middle-class taxpayers, she said, adding that the rebate has been provided on an income of up to Rs 7 lakh. "Since the enhanced rebate limit is unconditional, it leaves higher disposable income in the hands of people," Sitharaman said.
Under the revamped concessional tax regime, which will be effective from the next fiscal, no tax would be levied for income up to Rs 3 lakh. Income between Rs 3-6 lakh would be taxed at 5 per cent; Rs 6-9 lakh at 10 per cent, Rs 9-12 lakh at 15 per cent, Rs 12-15 lakh at 20 per cent and income of Rs 15 lakh and above will be taxed at 30 per cent.
However, no tax would be levied on annual income of up to Rs 7 lakh. Responding to RSP member NK Premachandran's remark that the new tax regime will not be beneficial for a person earning Rs 9 lakh annually and having an investment of Rs 4.5 lakh in tax savings instruments, Sitharaman said for a person saving Rs 4.5 lakh will be an "effort-ridden exercise".
"For a person earning Rs 9 lakh, it's not always possible to have Rs 4.5 lakh as saving and then also have enough money to spend on your family," Sitharaman said. The minister also said the Budget has maintained fiscal prudence as announced in the fiscal glide path earlier.
"It is a very, very delicately balanced Budget," Sitharaman said, adding the government chose the capital expenditure route to revive the economy as it has a greater multiplier effect.