Budget will focus on widening tax base, says Chidambaram

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SummaryAhead of the Budget, Finance Minister P Chidambaram today indicated that tax base may be widened to augment revenues.

Ahead of the Budget, Finance Minister P Chidambaram today indicated that tax base may be widened to augment revenues.

"I must get more and more people into tax net, even if they pay small amount of taxes. More and more amount of people must pay tax", he told reporters after addressing an investors' conference here.

Maintaining that he cannot discuss Budget details, the Minister said "one of the principal considerations will be adhering to the path of fiscal prudence. That will be one of the main themes of the Budget."

Asked about raising revenue, he said, "the other theme will be protecting one's tax base and augmenting tax revenues."

The third task, the Minister said, would be containing wasteful expenditure.

The Minister has already committed to bring down the fiscal deficit to 4.8 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013-14 from 5.3 per cent estimated in the current financial year.

Chidambaram is scheduled to present the Budget for 2013-14 on February 28, which would be the last full fledged Budget of the UPA-II in view of the Lok Sabha elections scheduled middle of the next year.

The government has already taken various steps including hiking the prices of petroleum products to reduce fiscal deficit.

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