NEW DELHI: Prominent highlights of the budget for 2012-13 presented by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the Lok Sabha Friday:
* Income tax exemption limit raised to Rs.2 lakh to provide relief of relief of Rs.2,000 for all assessees; 20 percent tax on income over Rs.10 lakh, up from Rs.8 lakh.
* Deduction of up to Rs.10,000 from interest from savings bank accounts.
* Defence to get Rs.1.93 lakh crore during 2012-13.
* Service tax rate raised from 10 percent to 12 percent to bring in Rs.18,660 crore.
* Number of proactive steps taken on black money (stashed away abroad); information has started flowing in, prosecution to be initiated; White Paper in current session.
* No change in corporate taxes but measures to enable them better access funds.
* Withholding tax on external commercial borrowings reduced from 20 percent to five percent for power, airlines, roads, bridges, affordable houses and fertiliser sectors.
* National Skill Development Fund allocated Rs.1,000 crore.
* Four thousand residential quarters to be constructed for paramilitary forces with an allocation of Rs.1,185 crore.
* National Population Register to be completed in two years.
* Excise duty raised from 10 to 12 percent.
* Cinema industry exempted from service tax.
* Branded silver jewellery fully exempt from excise duty.
* Customs duty on warning systems/track upgrade equipment for railways reduced from 10 percent to 7.5 percent.
* Import duty on equipment for iron ore mining reduced from 7.5 to 2.5 percent.
* Allocation of Rs.200 crore for research on climate change.
* Irrigation and water resource company to be operationalised.
* National mission on food processing to be started in cooperation with state governments.
* Integrated Child Development Scheme to be strengthened and restructured with allocation of Rs.15,850 crore.
* Allocation of Rs.14,000 crore for rural water supply and sanitation.
* Infusion of Rs.15,888 crore in public sector banks, regional rural banks and NABARD in 2012-13.
* Infrastructure will require Rs.50 lakh crore in 12th Plan, half of this from the private sector.
* Completion of highway projects 44 percent higher than in previous fiscal.
* External commercial borrowing of up to $1 billion permitted for airline sector.
* External commercial borrowings permitted to low-cost housing sector.
* From 2012-13, full subsidies for providing food security; in other sectors to the extent the economy can bear this.
* Hope to raise Rs.30,000 crore from disinvestments.
* New equity savings scheme to provide for income tax deduction of 50 percent for those who invest Rs.50,000 in equity and whose annual income is less than Rs.10 lakh.
* Corporate market reforms to be initiated.
* Bills on micro-finance institutions, national land bank and public debt management among those to be introduced in 2012-13.
* Addressing malnutrition, black money and corruption in public life among five priorities in year ahead.
* India's inflation structural, driven largely by agricultural constraints.
* Current account deficit 3.6 percent in 2011-12; this put pressure on exchange rate.
* Growth in 2012-13 estimated at 7.6 percent; expect inflation to be lower.
* Better monitoring of expenditure on government schemes.
* Fiscal 2011-12 year of recovery interrupted; reality turned out to be different.
* GDP growth in 2011-12 estimated at 6.9 percent; had to battle double digit inflation for two years.
* Good news: agriculture and services continued to perform well; economy is now turning around; recovery in core sectors.
* Now at juncture where it is necessary to take hard decisions; have to accelerate pace of reforms.