Congress leaders pitch for hike in I-T exemptions

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Ahead of the budget, finance minister P Chidambaram on Thursday had detailed meeting with his congress partymen, who pitched for more focus of development of youth and increasing income tax exemption limit to provide relief against high inflation to taxpayers at the lowest rung.

“Yes, there was a demand for raising income tax exemption limit,” All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary, Janardan Dwivedii, told reporters after an over hour-long meeting with Chidambaram.

Of the 46 senior partymen, who attended the meeting 32 placed their wish-list including steps to minimise the impact global economic slowdown, slowing Indian economy, inflation and on how to boost investment.

At present, the annual income tax exemption limit is Rs 2 lakh and if the proposal in the direct tax code were to be implemented it would go up to Rs 3 lakh.

Party leaders have given hints that the budgetary exercise could witness start of many programmes, which are going to have far-reaching consequences.

This would be the last full budget of the UPA-II government before the elections next year.

Chidambaram has expressed his intention to bring down fiscal deficit to 4.8 per cent of the GDP in 2013-14 from 5.3 per cent projected this fiscal. This meant raising more revenue by widening the tax net and mopping up more tax revenue besides significant expenditure contraction.

Several economic reforms, food security law and direct benefit transfer (DBT) are among measures that are being planned to be implemented in the next financial year, which may required additional spending thereby making it that much difficult to keep the deficit under check.

But Chidambaram has said that he would come with a “reasonable” budget that will ensure that important government programmes are not starved of funds, even while ensuring stable tax rates. Congress leaders stressed that the focus of the budget should be on populist schemes along with economic reforms. This is possible by prudent expenditure management and widening the tax base.

There has also been talk that the budget could be used for giving greater focus to the problems of the youth at a time when majority of the population is below 45.

Dwivedi said several other economic issues were raised including the problems of agriculture and measures to push farm and rural development.

There were suggestions to boost infrastructure development, particularly fast tracking highway projects. Dwivedi said party leaders representing various regions presented their wish list pertaining to all-important sectors of the economy.

krsudhaman

@mydigitalfc.com

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