Sinha cranks up feel-good factor
Against the backdrop of five State Assembly
elections this year, the Finance Minister, Mr. Yashwant Sinha,
has managed to present a ``responsive'' budget addressing the
cross-sectional concerns of the taxpayers, the industry and the
Relief for taxpayers
The Union Finance Minister, Mr. Yashwant
Sinha, today provided a minor relief to the income tax payee by
withdrawing surcharges, barring the Gujarat cess, but kept the
rates at the previous levels.
Agricultural sector reforms to be speeded up
The following are excerpts from the Union Budget speech delivered
by the Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, on February 28, 2001:
Sir, I rise to present the Budget for the year 2001-2002. The
challenges we face this year are awesome, made more so by the
tragedy and devastation caused by the Gujarat earthquake. I hope
I shall get the understanding and support of the whole House in
my endeavour to meet these challenges.
Review of Essential Commodities Act
Increased production and rising productivity makes the proper
management of the food economy more critical then ever before.
Our policy has to be transformed to deal with surpluses rather
than only shortages. I propose, therefore, to give an enlarged
role to the State Governments in both procurement and
distribution of foodgrains for PDS in their respective States.
Steps to liberalise capital account
Banking sector reforms have proceeded apace in a phased manner
over the past decade. However, the problem of non-performing
assets with banks has continued. Special attention is being paid
to recovery of NPAs:
Apparel parks to be set up
The new Credit Guarantee Scheme of August 2000 has been provided
budgetary support of Rs 100 crore in the current year. The limit
of loan without collateral which was earlier fixed at Rs 10 lakh
has been raised to Rs 25 lakh under this scheme.
Measures to improve tax compliance
Sir, I now present my tax proposals, indirect taxes first. In my
earlier budgets, I have endeavoured to ensure a continuity of
approach in framing my revenue proposals. The principles that
have guided me have been the need for growth in revenues,
simplification and rationalisation of the tax regime, and
effective tax compliance through measures, which are friendly for
the honest taxpayer, and a deterrent to the evader.
Duty on edible crude oil up
Similarly, I propose to increase the rate of duty on crude edible
oils ranging from 35 per cent to 55 per cent at present to a
uniform rate of 75 per cent and on refined oils from 45-65 per
cent to 85 per cent. A lower rate of 45 per cent would apply to
soyabean oil on account of WTO binding.
New manual for Central Excise
I propose to withdraw the exemption from customs duty on a few
items and impose on them a nominal duty of 5 per cent. I have
already promised that our customs tariff would be brought down to
East Asian levels. I will like to move progressively within three
years to reduce the number of rates to the minimum with a peak
rate of 20 per cent. The modalities for this will be worked out
in time for the next Budget.
Sops for IT sector
Sir, I also propose to provide relief to salaried persons in the
lower income range having income up to Rs 1 lakh. Such persons
will get an enhanced tax rebate at the rate of 30 per cent in
respect of their eligible investments under Section 88 of the
Income-Tax Act, as against 20 per cent at present.
LTTE, Lashkar among 21 outfits banned in U.K.
Twenty-one terrorist organisations, including
the Babbar Khalsa, International Sikh Youth Federation,
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Taiba, LTTE and
the Al Qaida, have been banned in the U.K. under the new
Terrorism Act 2000. The Home Secretary, Mr. Jack Straw, announced
this in the House of Commons here today.