Budget 2019 Live: Big Boost for finance, solar manufacturing and EV’s in Budget

As Finance Minister N Sitharaman presents her first budget 2019 in parliament today, track the news live for anything relevant to solar, renewables and electric mobility.

Sumant Sinha, CMD, Renew Power, has already drawn up a wishlist.


Similarly, leading trade body, FICCI, has also got expectations in terms of corporate tax rates and focus on rural areas.


And the speech has started!

A pollution free India, clean rivers, green mother earth and healthy environment finds an early mention in the FM’s aspirational goals. Good signs!

The government has focused on the common man’s issues, with toilets, clean energy, and power for all says the FM. We don’t look down upon legitimate profits, says the FM. Tell that to the new Andhra CM, bent upon renegotiating every old agreement and PPA signed by his predecessor:)

New metro rail projects of 300 kms were approved in 2018-19, Over 210 km have been operationalised. 657kms of metro rail networks now operational across the country.
Phase 2 of the FAME scheme, for the next three years, has started from April 2019. The Rs 10,000 crore scheme provides upfront incentives for EV’s and enabling infrastructure. The focus shifts to advanced batteries and infra now.

One Nation One Grid is the new focus. Gas Grids, Water Grids, I ways and regional airports all a priority now. Idling gas power plants will see new life, with the government to consider the recommendations of the high-level committee for reviving them.

A package for power sector tariffs and structural reforms to be announced soon. This could be the most important change needed by every player in the power sector!

A national payment gateway for MSME’s under consideration, to ease payment woes. The proof will be in the execution here, as previous efforts to classify MSME’s for favourable treatment have usually failed.

After the slowdown on FCRA funding, a solution proposed. Social stock exchange on the anvil, for listing social enterprises and voluntary organisations, working for the realisation of a social objective, so that they can raise money as equity, debt or even units like a mutual fund. Very interesting, as the government continues to try and shift social funding. Could open up interesting opportunities for small and independent mini-grids possibly.

Every willing family will have access to energy and clean cooking by 2024, pledges the minister. Ujjwala and Saubhagya Schemes.

4 labour codes to replace the set of multiple labour laws. Will ensure standardisation and fewer disputes, says the minister. Stand Up India scheme to continue till 2025. To support women, scheduled caste/tribe entrepreneurship. 300 entrepreneurs have emerged thanks to the scheme so far.

A programme for mass scaling up of LED bulbs led to 35 crore such bulbs being distributed under the Ujala Yojna. Cost savings of Rs 18341 crores annually. India will be free of incandescent bulbs, besides CFL bulbs soon. Solar stoves and battery chargers will be encouraged.

A possible opportunity for off-grid solar devices. For every verified woman SHG (Self-help group) member, with a Jan dhan account, a loan up to Rs 100,000 under MUDRA scheme now. Keep in mind that there are close to 2.2 million SHG’s in India. That’s a lot of eligible women!

On money, Rs 70,000 crores coming into boost PSU banks! One time six-month credit guarantee for banks for the purchase of highly-rated pooled assets worth up to Rs 100,000 crores. The guarantee to cover the first loss of up to 10%. That’s a vote of confidence in the NBFC sector, seen as critical for consumption demand. The guarantee should help in the short term obviously.

Rs 1,05,000 crore disinvestment target for PSE’s in 2019-20.  Still calling it disinvestment, not privatisation:)

Companies with an annual turnover of up to Rs 400 crores to be covered by the lower corporate tax rate of 25%.

 

Under 35AB of the income tax act, exemptions on investments into manufacturing of solar voltaic equipment, lithium batteries and more. There’s make in India for you.

India shd be a global hub of Electrical Vehicle manufacturing, including storage. GST council being moved to lower GST rate from 12% to 5%. Additional income tax deduction of Rs 1.5 lacs on interest paid on loans taken to purchase electric vehicles. The total benefit could be up to Rs 2.5 lacs over the loan period, says the FM.

Consumption is given a push by expanding the individual tax slab to Rs 5 lacs and above now.

Expanding the tax-free slab for individuals to Rs 5 lacs should be good. Further simplification of GST filing and compliances. No one can protest that.

Promoting clean energy finds mention as a priority again. Exemption from customs duty withdrawn from electronic items now being manufactured in India.

E-Mobility gets a further push with customs duty exemption for specific parts of electric vehicles.

Fuel takes a kick again. A special increase of Rs 1 each on excise duty per litre of diesel and petrol for road and infra.  In anticipation of softening fuel prices globally. Clearly, the government keen to put a floor on fuel prices. So what happens of fuel prices go up?

And with that surprise, she ends her speech. Detailed analysis later.

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