1. Budget is progressive, pragmatic and people-oriented: Finance Secretary, Ashok Lavasa

Budget is progressive, pragmatic and people-oriented: Finance Secretary, Ashok Lavasa

The Finance Secretary said the Budget demonstrates that governance reforms were fundamental to transforming the economy and energising people

By: | New Delhi | Published: February 4, 2017 10:15 PM

The Budget 2017-18 charts a story that is consistent with the policies of government in the last couple of years, predictable in its approach and is shorn of unnecessary surprises for the industry and society, said Ashok Lavasa, Finance and Expenditure Secretary, Ministry of Finance, while addressing the National Executive Committee Meeting of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), on Saturday.

The Finance Secretary said the Budget demonstrates that governance reforms were fundamental to transforming the economy and energising people. “Cleaning the system was another key component of the Finance Minister’s proposals which is attempted through a series of steps such as Aadhar linked devolution of government support and subsidies to the targeted beneficiaries, expenditure reforms and the proposed revamping of the General Financial Rules to monitor how the various departments were expending the allocated funds,” he said.

Shaktikanta Das, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, maintained that the impact on demonetisation on growth would be very transient and that it would not spill over to the next year which would see a growth of over 7 percent and the economy would continue to do well thereafter. “The Government has stuck to its commitment with a progressive outlook.

This is seen by avoidance of retrospectivity in taxation, targeting of government support through Aadhar, reforms in agriculture, especially the model law on contract framing, UGC reforms, proposed amendments to the Airports Authority Act, metro development to harness private investment and skills and integration of spot and derivative markets to provide remunerative prices to farmers,” said Das. Speaking on the issue of India’s corporate income tax not being globally competitive, Hasmukh Adhia, Secretary, Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, said the government had limited resources and therefore, moderation in corporate income tax rate has to be seen in the context of a concomitant expansion of the tax net.

On GST Bill, scheduled to release on July 1, 2017, he said it was well on track with the Union and State Governments on board. Sushil Chandra, Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Ministry of Finance, and S Ramesh, Member, Central Excise, Service Tax and IT, Ministry of Finance reiterated the government was simplifying the tax regime to the extent possible for industry and individual taxpayers. The government was employing technology to make tax assessment faceless, they added.

According to a FICCI analysis on Economics of Union Budget 2017-18, the budget would strengthen the economic muscle of the country. It is directionally correct, fiscally prudent and strengthens the governance fabric of the nation. There is a balancing of objectives of higher economic growth and improved economic justice. The implementation, however, is the key, especially with respect to capital expenditure, disinvestment, tax reforms and Ease of Doing Business. Additionally, FICCI looks forward to additional measures over the year with regards to corporate tax reduction for large companies, and a further capital infusion in PSBs and introduction of Public Sector Asset Rehabilitation Agency (PARA).

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