‘Every Bud­get De­ci­sion in the Cause of Reform’

Jait­ley de­fends 10% sur­charge on higher in­come, says state needs re­sources

The Economic Times - - Economy: Macro, Micro & More - Our Bureau

New Delhi: Fi­nance min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley on Fri­day de­fended his de­ci­sion to im­pose a 10% sur­charge on in­come above .₹ 50 lakh and said that in a tax non-com­pli­ant so­ci­ety, the state needs re­sources that have to come from the af­flu­ent. In a post-bud­get in­ter­ac­tion with in­dus­try cham­bers, he noted the need for the in­dus­try to step up on var­i­ous is­sues in­clud­ing bad loans.

Lay­ing the onus on the in­dus­try to sup­port and fa­cil­i­tate the gov­ern­ment’s drive against the shadow econ­omy and pro­grammes such as Make in In­dia, Jait­ley said every de­ci­sion the gov­ern­ment has taken has been in the di­rec­tion of re­form­ing and im­prov­ing upon the present sys­tems.

“Whether it was to tar­get sub­si­dies to the more de­serv­ing, end dis­cre­tions, ease the process of do­ing busi­ness, ra­tio­nalise taxes or clean­ing up the sys­tem,” he said.

On the is­sue of Goods and Ser­vices Tax (GST) the fi­nance min­is­ter said that he hopes to get Cen­tral GST (CGST) and In­te­grated GST (IGST) draft leg­is­la­tions ap­proved at the next GST Coun­cil meet­ing on Fe­bru­ary 18 and bring them in the sec­ond half of on­go­ing Bud­get Ses­sion.

“Hope­fully, my tar­get cur­rently is to fi­nalise those drafts and take them in the sec­ond part of the bud­get ses­sion in Par­lia­ment,” he said.

The fi­nance min­is­ter noted that a re­al­is­tic fis­cal deficit tar­get of 3.25% of GDP has been fixed for 2017-18 and 3% for the next year that could be achieved on ac­count of higher tax rev­enues and dis­in­vest­ment pro­ceeds.

“This year our col­lec­tions are higher than what we had an­tic­i­pated and hope­fully we will main­tain that course even next year,” said Jait­ley adding that the gov­ern­ment in­tends to list more PSUs to make them com­pet­i­tive and trans­par­ent.

When asked if the gov­ern­ment is look­ing to set up a bad bank, as also sug­gested in the Eco­nomic Sur­vey, Jait­ley said, “It (bad bank) is also a pos­si­ble so­lu­tion. We will take it on board for dis­cus­sion.”

The fi­nance min­is­ter, how­ever, said that the gov­ern­ment does not want to get into a sit­u­a­tion where even­tu­ally it will all con­verge to a gov­ern­ment is­sue and then the whole thing will have to be sup­ported only out of the bud­get.

Con­fed­er­a­tion of In­dian In­dus­try (CII) Naushad Forbes said that weak­en­ing of the sav­ings rate is a cause for con­cern and asked for boost­ing fi­nan­cial sav­ings of house­holds by en­cour­ag­ing in­vest­ments in equity mar­kets and bonds.

FIGHT AGAINST BLACK MONEY

Post de­mon­eti­sa­tion, gov­ern­ment agen­cies have con­ducted over 1,100 searches and is­sued 5,100 no­tices to ver­ify sus­pi­cious high-value cash de­posits. Valu­ables worth over .₹ 610 crore of which Rs 513 crore in cash were seized.

“The undis­closed in­come de­tected in th­ese on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions till Jan­uary 10, 2017, was more than .₹ 5,400 crore,” Fi­nance Min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley said in the Lok Sabha.

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