Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday held a pre-budget session with a group of economists in connection with the forthcoming Union Budget 2018-19. Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia was also present at the session. Earlier, the Finance Minister held meeting with stakeholders from the agriculture sector, industry and business segments, and trade unions.
In the previous meetings, various issues were discussed; most importantly the lowering of the corporate tax. Corporate India had sought lower tax and more incentives for investments while exporters called for quicker GST refunds at the meeting in the run-up to the last full-year Budget of the NDA government before 2019 general elections.
The finance minister exhorted India Inc to make investments in infrastructure sector to build a stronger India. Private investment along with public and foreign investments are the key to boost growth and create job opportunities, he said in his opening remarks during his third Pre-Budget consultation meeting with business leaders and representatives of various industry chambers. With the stakeholders of agriculture, the Finance Minister discussed price volatility of commodities below the minimum support price (MSP).
Arun Jaitley also told trade union that the government was fully committed to safeguard the interests of the workers, especially those working in the MSME and the unorganized sector. During the pre-Budget consultations with representatives of different trade union groups, he said the workers were entitled to minimum wages prescribed by law and asked all the industries concerned to strictly comply with this without fail.
During the meeting, nine of the trade unions jointly gave a common memorandum on behalf of the workers they represent which contained 12 point charter of demands including increased budgetary allocations for social sector, measures to check the prices of essential commodities and stopping disinvestment and strategic sale of public sector undertakings.