Every­body wins in this one, says FM

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Ra­jesh Ma­ha­p­a­tra and Appu Esthose Suresh let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Fo­cus spend­ing on iden­ti­fied suc­cess sto­ries, widen the tax net and carry on the gov­ern­ment’s cam­paign against il­le­gal cash hold­ings. These were at the core of the phi­los­o­phy driv­ing fi­nance min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley’s fourth Union bud­get that stressed on clean­ing up po­lit­i­cal fund­ing and un­veiled tax breaks for lower-in­come groups.

In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with Hin­dus­tan Times, the fi­nance min­is­ter said the ground­work laid by the scrap­ping of `500 and `1,000 ban­knotes last Novem­ber boosted the lend­ing ca­pac­ity of banks.

“The pe­cu­liar­ity of this bud­get is that af­ter de­mon­eti­sa­tion, no­body pays more and ev­ery­one gets tax ad­van­tage, ex­cept those with in­comes in the range of `50 lakh-`1 crore range,” Jait­ley said.

The fi­nance min­is­ter in­di­cated he would fur­ther in­crease the al­lo­ca­tion for the na­tional ru­ral jobs scheme and stressed that po­lit­i­cal par­ties would love the new do­na­tion regime. He said the as­sem­bly elec­tions had lit­tle im­pact on draft­ing the bud­get but added that farm­ers and traders in poll-bound Ut­tar Pradesh and Pun­jab would ben­e­fit from re­in­forced ru­ral credit and a lack of “re­gres­sive taxes”.

Jait­ley said the gov­ern­ment’s aim was to make cash gen­er­a­tion dif­fi­cult by more scru­tiny and tax in­cen­tives. “All the mea­sures we are tak­ing, we have to make sure that we pro­vide a great in­cen­tive for the peo­ple to en­ter the tax net.”

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