Pulses supplies will be shored up to bring down prices, says Jaitley

‘Honest taxpayers have no reason to fear black money law’

To cool off prices of pulses, that have run up by up to 64 per cent in the last one year with falling domestic production, the Modi government plans to shore up supplies with imports through state-owned trading firms such as MMTC.

“There is an issue with pulses these days, because there has been an impact on the crop, also of international prices… So, the Principal Secretary [to Prime Minister Narendra Modi] has held a meeting, so that supply is increased to bring down prices,” Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters on Monday after inaugurating a multi-media exhibition to mark one year of the Modi government.

The production of pulses, the government estimates, fell to 18.43 million tonnes in the 2014-15 crop-year from 19.78 million tonnes in the previous year. India imports about 4 million tonnes every year.

Addressing a conference of top officials of the Central Board of Direct Taxes, Mr. Jaitley said: “The parallel economy has to be squeezed and it has to be done in very fair manner, not in a harsh manner… In doing so, you have to maintain the highest standard of integrity.” Direct tax collections for 2014-15 were likely to improve by about 15 per cent, which could help the Centre improve its fiscal deficit to 3.9 per cent. Mr. Jaitley exhorted officers to be prompt in redressing the grievances of the tax payers and expand the tax base in a non-intrusive manner. On the new black money law for bringing back the unaccounted funds held by Indians abroad, the Finance Minister said honest taxpayers had anything to fear. “It’s targeted only against those who have stashed assets abroad… Black money has to be squeezed… only those who have defied the system in the past and intend to defy the compliance window to come clean have to worry.”

Mr. Jaitley also said that improving tax collections created more space for the government to step up spending on social and infrastructure projects and also provided relief to individual taxpayers. Government’s efforts on the direct tax front were to bring down the rate of taxation over the next four years to global levels and, at the same time, phase out the exemptions to the extent possible.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 10:48:05 PM |

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