Union Budget: A key event, not a routine exercise
Foremost among them is the reduction in excise duty on some of the major raw materials, such as cement and steel, in order to bring down the cost of production of a host of finished products and spruce up their demand. A number of finished products, such as passenger cars up to certain horsepower, home appliances and others, may also expect some relief on the indirect tax front. A rise in sales volumes is likely to make these proposals revenue-neutral.
The government is also steadfast in its resolve to contain the fiscal deficit by reining in expenditure. This process, however, is not to affect government expenditure or fund allocations in infrastructure-related departments such as power, coal, ports, airports and irrigation, and in social sectors such as housing and rural development. The capital goods sector needs support in terms of customs duty so that there is a level-playing field for imported electrical, shipbuilding and heavy machinery equipment. The local
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