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Indian Budget 2003-2004>  Key Highlights


.Private and public interest should combine to improve country's infrastructure.
.Initial government funding for new infrastructure projects to total Rs 2,000 crore for year.
.Government plans to invest some Rs 40,000 in 48 new road projects, one quarter of them to be made of cement and concrete.
.Government plans to modernise Bombay and New Delhi airports to world class global standards. To set up private airports in southern cities of Hyderabad and Bangalore.


.Service tax enhanced to 8% from five per cent and 10 new services added.
.Under VAT, centre to compensate 100% loss in revenue to states in first year, 75% in second and 50% in third year.
.Customs duty on high-voltage transmission parts slashed to five per cent from 25%.
.Customs duty cut on capital goods for telecom, IT to 15 per cent from 25 per cent.
.Customs duty for optic fibre cables cut to 20 per cent from 25 per cent
.Customs duty on cut, polished gems and stones abolished.
.Customs duty on gold cut to Rs 100 from Rs 250 per 10 gm.
.Excise duty for cars, soft drinks reduced to 24% from 32%
.Biotechnology and pharmaceutical R & D companies need not comply with export obligation of Rs 20 crore per annum to avail customs duty exemptions.


.No change in corporate tax slabs and rates, surcharge halved from 5% to 2.5%
.Central sales tax ceiling to be cut to 2%
.Constitution to be amended to allow states to levy service tax
.More life-saving drugs under concessional customs duty of 5%
.Concessions under 10A/B for infotech companies to stay
.Tax exemptions for pharma, biotech to be at par with IT
.Tax holiday for telecom sector to continue
.Increase in share capital allowed to Rs 80 crore under EPCG schemes.
.Seventy five more items have been dereserved from Small Scale industries including leather and chemical.

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