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Union Budget
General Budget 2013: Women friendly; super rich to pay more
The Finance Minister P. Chidambaram presented his eighth budget today in the parliament. According to the budget for the fiscal year 2013-2014, the total budget expenditure will rise by an unexpectedly high 16 percent in the financial year that begins on April 1 to 16.65 trillion rupees.

Chidambaram tried to please the women population of the country with his announcement to open all women banks in the country, which will be only for women and operated by only women. A fund of 1000 crore rupees has been allocated as an initial capital to open the first all-women branch. The first such bank will be opened by October 2013.

Under pressure, in the wake of the uproar across the country regarding the safety of women after the Delhi gang rape, which resulted into the tragic death of an 23 year old girl, the FM announced Nirbhaya Fund worth 1000 crore rupees. The ministry of women and child development and other ministries concerned will work out details of the structure, scope and application of the fund.

Suffering from the burden of high inflation, the people were expecting some substantial relief in income tax. However, the finance minister decided not to touch the existing tax rates and slabs. Some relief has been provided to those who fall in the bracket of two lakh – five lakh annual income, as now instead of paying 30, 900 rupees as income tax, they will be required to pay Rs 2000 less.

The budget has also brought smiles on the faces of those who are thinking to draw home loans to buy their first house. The minister announced that an additional tax deduction of interest of up to Rs 1 lakh will be given to those who are taking their first home loan up to Rs 25 lakh during the financial year 2013-14.

To add revenue, Chidambaram announced super rich tax for the next one year. Those who earn more than one crore rupees annually will be required to pay 10% as surcharge. Similarly those companies with an annual earning of more than Rs 10 crores have to shell out 10% as surcharge.

Now, one has to pay more while eating at any air cooled restaurants as the budget has introduced the provision of service charge to be paid by the diners. There is bad news for smokers also as cigarettes will cost more with the increase in excise duty to 18%. Sports utility vehicles, imported luxury cars and bikes, set top box, high end mobiles, parking fee, silk clothes have also become costly.

Budget have also made few things cheaper like Jewellery, Precious stones, Cotton garments, Branded apparels Carpets, Textile floor, Agricultural testing procedures Imported hazel nuts, Dehulled oat grain, Truck chasis, Sabudana, Ships and vessels, Cinema and films and machinery for manufacturing of leather goods

Chidambaram said that cities with the population of more than 10,000 will have Life Insurance and General Insurance Corporation offices. The minister allocated 801.94 bln rupees for rural and set aside 270.49 billion rupees for agriculture in 2013/14.

The budget has also raised fund for defence sector by 14% to 2.03 lakh crore, and the finance minister also made a promise that any additional fund required for national security will be provided further.

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