'Convert tax gains into higher investments'

He also sought help from Corporate India in pushing further the government’s economic growth and reforms agenda and said this support was necessary for him to meet their expectations.

“Just as I have to meet up to your expectations to get you to scale new heights of productivity and growth, you also have to meet my hopes, in the process strengthening my hands,” he said in opening remarks at post-budget conference organised by industry chamber Assocham here.

Speaking about this year’s budget proposals, Mukherjee said that he had “the option to roll back the central excise duty to levels prevailing in November 2008. I have chosen not to do so and retain the rates at 10 per cent for two reasons.”

“I would like to see improved business margins translated into higher investment rates. I would also like to stay my course towards GST,” he added.

Mukherjee said that he wanted to address some “topical and emerging concerns” through his budget proposals. He listed out five principal objectives for this year’s budget proposals, the first being stronger fiscal consolidation to enlarge the resource space for private enterprise. “Secondly, improving the supply response of agriculture to the expanding domestic demand. Together with fiscal consolidation, it would help in addressing inflationary pressures in the medium term.

The third objective, he said, was to take forward the process of reforms including in the financial sector, and the fourth was a continued thrust on an inclusive development process.

Mukherjee said that the final objective was to undertake reforms for simplifying and placing the administrative procedures concerning taxation, trade and tariffs and subsidies on electronic interface, free of discretion and bureaucratic delays. “This would also prepare the ground for the implementation of the DTC and hopefully the GST as well, from April 2012,” he said.

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