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Reform-oriented agenda governs budget: PM
Moderate rate and simplified system were essential for greater tax compliance, said PM.
New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said the Union Budget was aimed at fiscal consolidation and moderation of taxes to match the challenges the economy faces and signalled that his government was reform-oriented.
"This budget meets all the challenges that our economy and our polity faces in the next fiscal year. We need to sustain a high rate of growth and therefore this budget builds upon the good performance of the current fiscal year's 8.6 per cent growth rate to a projected 9 per cent," Singh said.
Hailing Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for doing a "commendable" job, he said while rapid growth was certainly one factor but equally important was greater tax compliance and for that moderate rate and simplified system were essential.
"And the Finance Minister has walked on both these legs," the Prime Minister said in an interview to Doordarshan.
On the controversial black money issue and lack of any amnesty scheme to bring it back in the budget, he said there have been such schemes in past but with a little success.
"Well amnesty schemes have been implemented in the past. I don't think they have succeed in providing permanent cure for black money. We need to have a systems reform in a holistic manner to deal with this menace," he said.
Replying to a question that the budget failed to provide any additional relief to women by increasing the income tax exemption limit, he said "you cannot please all the people. Finance Minister has done as good a job as possible."
By increasing the exemption limit for the people at the lowest rung of the ladder from Rs 1,60,000 to Rs 1,80,000 will benefit all men and women and for older citizens, Mukherjee has done much more, Singh said.
"This is a budget that matches the challenges that our economy faces - sustained growth, inclusive growth, equitable growth and thus, a determined effort to curb inflationary expectations," he said.
Noting that "quite a lot" has been done to encourage foreign direct investment, Singh said the Finance Minister has reduced the surcharge from 7.5 percent to 5 percent.
"I think, the signals are that this is a government which is reform oriented. He has promised that he will come with legislation with regard to insurance, with regard to pension fund. In totality, if these promises are converted into solid Acts of parliament, they will provide a boost to the capital market as well as to the corporate sentiment all around," he said.
He said considering the international financial system, maintaining a high growth rate was something for which Mukherjee and the government deserved to be congratulated.
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