We’re reporting the telecom and digital media components of India’s 2011-2012 Budget announcement live. To watch a live stream try:Indian Goverment WebStreamCNBC-TV18IndiatimesNDTV Profit.

Budget Announcements

– Packaged software (including games and music): “Full exemption from payment of Additional duty of Customs ( CVD) is being granted on the portion of value representing the consideration paid or payable for the transfer of the right to use such goods to those packaged or canned software, which do not require affixation of RSP under The Legal Metrology Act, 2009 or the rules made there under, subject to the Importer being registered under the Service Tax” (source, source, and source)
– Service tax on money changing? (source)
Mobile accessories: The concession available to parts, components and accessories for manufacture of mobile handsets has been extended by a year, till 31st March, 2012 and a few more items are being included in its ambit. This includes full exemption from basic customs duty, additional duty of customs equivalent to excise duty and full exemption from Special Additional Duty of customs on parts, components and accessories of mobile handsets, as well as battery chargers, PC connectivity cables and hands-free headphones of such mobile handsets and sub-parts for the manufacture of such parts and components (source, source and source)
– Optical Drives become cheaper: The government also intends to expand the raw material list for manufacture of specified electronic components that are fully exempt from basic customs duty: Parts Parts of DVD Drive or DVD Writer, Combo Drives, CD-ROM Drives. (source).
– Printers: Also fully exempt from basic customs duty are inkjet and laser-jet printers (source). Excise duty/ CVD is being reduced to 5% and SAD to NIL on parts of inkjet & laser jet printers imported by actual users for manufacture of printers. (source)
– Printing equipment: The concessional rate of duty of 5% BCD, 5% Excise Duty/CVD & Nil SAD presently applicable to High speed machinery (>70000 copies per hour) is being extended to mailroom equipment viz.
overhead conveyor gripper, stacker, wrapper, labeler, strapper, inserters and delivery conveyors designed for use with high speed printing machines with a minimum speed of 70000 copies per hour, imported by newspapers registered with Registrar of Newspapers of India (RNI). [S. No. 267C of notification No. 21/2002-Customs inserted vide notification No. 21/2011-Customs refers] (source)
– Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) has been increased to 18.5% from 18%, but the current surcharge of 7.5 per cent on domestic companies has been reduced to 5 per cent.
– MAT is now going to be applicable on developers (builders) of Special Economic Zones as well as units operating in SEZs. (details)
– Rural Broadband and Telecom: Rural Telecom and Rural Broadband are included in (hence, part of) an overall allocation of Rs. 58000 crore (which includes other rural initiatives). The government plans to provide Rural broadband connectivity to all 2 Lakh Panchayats in three years.
– Banking & Financial Inclusion: The government is gong to spend on a multi-media campaign to promote the opening of bank accounts. The Banks have identified about 73,000 habitations for providing banking facilities using appropriate technologies. During this year, banks will cover 20,000 villages. Remaining will be covered during 2011-12.
– UIDAI/Aadhaar: 2 million users have been given Aadhaar numbers, and the target is that by 1st October 2011, 1 million numbers will be generated per day.

– Manufacturing (impacts device and mobile handset manufacturing): To give a fillip the manufacturing, the government intends to take the share of manufacturing in GDP from about 16 per cent to 25 per cent over a period of ten years. Government will come out with a manufacturing policy, which will bring down the compliance burden on the industry through self-regulation and help make Indian industry globally competitive.
– Smart Cards Get A Push: In order to bring transparency in government expenditure, the Finance Minister has said that he favors the use of Smart Cards for targeting food subsidies, as well as kerosene and fertilizer subsidies.
– National Knowledge Network update: will link 1500 Institutes of Higher Learning and Research through an optical fibre backbone. During the current year, 190 Institutes will be connected to NKN. Since the core will be ready by March 2011, the connectivity to all 1500 institutions will be provided by March 2012.
– R&D: no sops announced, just that a National Innovation Council under Shri Sam Pitroda has been set up to prepare a roadmap for innovations in India, and the process of setting up State Innovation Councils in each State and Sectoral Innovation Councils aligned to Central Ministries is underway.
– Printers become cheaper: excise duty (and hence CVD) on parts of ink-jet and laser-jet printers is being reduced from 10 per cent to 5 per cent.
– Air Travel will become more expensive, this will impact online ticketing busineses: The service tax economy class on domestic air travel is up by Rs. 50, and Rs. 250 on international; Travel by higher classes on domestic sector is subject to a standard rate of 10 per cent service tax, on par with higher classes on international air travel.
– LED Lights: “In the last Budget, Central Excise duty on LED lights was reduced from 8 per cent to 4 per cent to promote their use. The basic component of these lights viz. the LED attracts an excise duty (hence, CVD) of 10 per cent and a special CVD of 4 per cent. The excise duty on LEDs is being reduced to 5 per cent and special CVD is being fully exempted. These are also fully exempt from customs duty.
– Cinematographic Films: “The Indian film industry has represented that colour, unexposed jumbo rolls of cinematographic film are not manufactured domestically and have to be imported. I propose to exempt jumbo rolls of 400 feet and 1000 feet from CVD by providing full exemption from excise duty.”
– Cash Dispensers: are being fully exempt cash dispensers from basic customs duty, and parts of such machines to encourage their domestic production.
– Sole Proprietership Audit: The number of assessees in service tax has grown manifold, many of which are individuals or sole proprietors with small turnovers. All individual and sole proprietor taxpayers with a turnover upto Rs. 60 lakh are exempt from the formalities of audit. All assessees with turnover upto Rs. 60 lakh, the benefit of 3 percentage points in interest on delayed payment.
– Indian Rupee now has a new symbol which has been notified for use by the Central and State Governments, business entities and the general public. The Government has approached Unicode Standards Authority for inclusion of the symbol in international standards.
– Central board of direct tax and central board of excise has enabled online filing of returns, ECF facility, TDS now available througout the country, with the Centralized Processing Centre (CPC) at Bengaluru increasing its daily processing capacity from 20,000 to 1.5 lakh returns in 2010-11. Two more CPCs will become operational in Manesar and Pune by May 2011 and a fourth CPC will come up in Kolkata in 2011-12. Electronic filing of TDS has been stabilized. CBTD wll provide a separate we based facility for taxpayers for tracking resolution of tax refunds.

Other Notifications:
http://indiabudget.nic.in/ub2011-12/cen/ce0111.pdf
http://indiabudget.nic.in/ub2011-12/cen/ce0211.pdf
http://indiabudget.nic.in/ub2011-12/cen/ce0611.pdf

Pre budget: We’re particularly looking for announcements related to the National Broadband Plan, Digitization of broadcast services in India (hence sops), Unique ID, Financial Inclusion measures using mobile payments, expectations of revenues from FM Radio III auctions.

Do read:
Budget 2011: What The Digital Industry Wants

From last year:
Budget 2010: News Sites, Unique ID, GST, Gaming, Mobile, Banking
Budget 2010 Economic Survey: UID, Telecom, FDI, USO Fund, Prasar Bharati & e-Governance