2018 will be year of reaping benefits: FM

2018 will be year of reaping benefits: FM

In an indication that the Union Budget 2018-19 will be taxpayer-friendly, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said that 2018 would be the year of reaping benefits from some of the tough reforms India has initiated in the course of this year.

"If 2017 was a year of reforms, 2018 will be the one to reap its benefits for the people of India," Jaitley said in a year-end interview to public broadcaster DD News.

The government had introduced two major back-to-back structural reforms - demonetisation and GST - in 2017-18, putting the common man through a lot of hardship. Besides these, it also brought out the biggest monetary policy reform by setting up a Monetary Policy Committee to determine interest rates. Prior to that it was decided solely by the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. The government also took a major step forward to restore the health of debt-laden public sector banks.

The expectations of people is that after GST, the government will take up proposals for changes in direct taxes. It is expected to give a relief to taxpayers in both - personal income tax and corporate tax - in the Budget for 2018-19.

"The country is going to get enormous benefit of the reforms," Jaitley said exactly a month ahead of the Union Budget on February 1. Since the Budget for 2018-19 will not have any tax proposals concerning excise and service tax, Jaitley is expected to concentrate on how to make direct tax levies taxpayer-friendly in order to increase the tax base and curb evasion.

Jaitley said that going forward, the government would concentrate on rural areas too.

"Any lopsided reform is not good for the country," he said, adding that urban areas have already benefitted from various reform measures.

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