PC aims to cut deficit, clarify taxes

Short of presenting another budget, Finance Minister P Chidambaram today spelt out a huge mid-year course correction for the economy, at par with that taken in crisis years like 2008.

Less than a week after stepping into the ministry, he said that on his agenda was an aggressive road map for revamp of fiscal policy, including a rollback of the retrospective tax laws and removal of policy impediments for key sectors, both of which have crippled investment.

To show that he meant business, the minister has again asked Vijay Kelkar, the author of India’s GST road map, to redraw the fiscal consolidation plan for the new team at North Block.

Financial Year

Just hours after he met RBI Governor D Subbarao, Chidambaram indicated rate cuts were on way. “Interest rates inhibit the investor and are a burden on every class of borrowers.

Budget Deficit

Sometimes it is necessary to take carefully calibrated risks in order to stimulate investment and to ease the burden on consumers. We will take appropriate steps in this regard,” he said.

In a prepared statement, the Finance Minister described investment as an act of faith in the economy. He promised a reassurance on that score and set a target of raising investment to 38 per cent and savings to 36 per cent — levels that were last achieved by the economy before the global meltdown of 2008.

He said foreign investors would soon see “clarity in tax laws, a stable tax regime and a non-adversarial tax administration” through corrective measures to be taken by his ministry.

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