Surprises: P Chidambaram's Budget logs
As part of the United Front Front government led by HD Deve Gowda in 1996-97, Chidambaram presented his first Budget, which imposed a minimum alternate tax on profits, a move that invited the wrath of the corporate sector.
Despite that poor start, he went on to present one of the best budgets of all time. In 1997-98, Chidambaram presented what has since been called his “Dream Budget” in which he hacked taxes and duties across the board, relaxed FII investment limits, opened up insurance and introduced a black money amnesty scheme. This Budget moderated tax rates for individuals and corporates alike. He reduced the maximum marginal income tax rate for individuals from 40% to 30%, and cut the corporate tax rate drastically.
Chidambaram is also responsible for bringing the fringe benefit tax (later revoked), the securities transactions tax and the banking cash transaction tax during his stint as finance minister in UPA-I.
In Budget 2005-06, he announced that all states had agreed to introduce the value-added tax (VAT) with effect from April 1, 2005. The national rural employment guarantee programme was introduced the same year.
In a move which conflicted with his reformist image, he announced a farm loan waiver in
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