What India’s Budget 2019 means for Financial, Legal, and Professional Services?

By christopher heyes

There was a lot for the UK Financial and Professional services sector to be happy about in Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman’s first budget, not least the promise of a simplified tax administration with greater transparency. 

This along with a corporation tax reduction to 25% for companies with an annual turnover of up to INR 400 Crore (around £47m) means that 99% of the companies operating in the country will now fall into this bracket.

Further tax simplification came in the announcement that the GST (Goods and Services Tax) will also be simplified into a single monthly return. These announcements, along with the promise of structural reforms, should help India further rise in the ease of doing business rankings as it strives to be a USD five trillion economy in the next few years.

The budget saw a lot of announcements that will make the City of London happy with the opening up of the insurance intermediary sector allowing for 100% FDI. With the Indian insurance sector expected to be worth GBP 225 billion by 2025 UK expertise in this area should see more FDI attracted to India.

The Minister also announced her intent to start raising part of the Governments borrowings from external markets. This is on top of the previously announced plan to raise around $1.5bn by issuing bonds on overseas markets in October this year. As the world’s financial capital, London should disproportionately benefit from these announcements. Measures were also announced to deepen the corporate bond market, again giving opportunity for UK expertise in this area, especially in the City. Strategic disinvestment from Central Public Sector Enterprises including Air India will also offer the UK the chance to show off its capacity for success in this realm.

The UK`s infrastructure sector will also be happy to hear measures but in place to support the Indian infrastructure sector with INR 100 Lakh Crore (approx. GBP 1.2 trillion) over the next five years.

The announcement of the ‘Pollution Free India’ campaign will also come as welcome news to the Connecting Place Catapult who are working with Bangalore to monitor air quality and over viewing the Electric Vehicle infrastructure needed to help support this initiative.

If you would like to find out more about the UK India Business Council’s work supporting financial, legal, and professional services between the UK and India, please get in touch with our Sector Manager, Chris Heyes, at chris.heyes@ukibc.com

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