The forthcoming Budget will focus on higher growth and keeping inflation, fiscal and revenue deficits to manageable levels, said Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee here on Friday.

Outlining his objectives, Mr. Mukherjee appealed for cooperation from industry captains, who called on him seeking earnest initiatives from the government to prop up investment and usher in new reforms to energise the growth mechanism.

A 9 per cent plus growth rate over a sustained period and inclusive growth would be possible only with the cooperation of industry and trade, Mr. Mukherjee said.

FICCI President R. V. Kanoria urged the government to contain the fiscal deficit by widening the direct tax base, privatising coal mines, building inventory of government assets and bringing back black money from foreign banks through a one time amnesty.

To encourage consumption, Mr. Kanoria wanted the peak income-tax rate of 30 per cent be made applicable on income exceeding Rs.10 lakh and restore tax exemptions for investment in infrastructure. He also called for rationalisation of MAT to reasonable levels.

CII President B. Muthuraman called for amending the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management target for reducing the fiscal deficit in the next five years in a bid to infuse a sense of discipline in raising revenue and containing expenditure.

Calling for a dual pricing of diesel and LPG, Mr. Muthuraman underlined the need to expand the service tax base to include services like rail fares and freight.

To encourage investment, Mr. Muthuraman stressed the need for abolishing surcharge and cess on corporate tax and enhancing the depreciation rate on plant and machinery from 15 per cent to 22 per cent.

Assocham President-elect Raj Kumar Doo emphasised the need for new impetus to the manufacturing sector.

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