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Budget 2015: Lower corporate tax, higher spend on India Inc's wishlist
January, 08th 2015

India Inc has pitched for reduction in corporate tax rate, aggressive disinvestment of government stake in public sector units, higher personal income tax exemption limits and a massive increase in public expenditure to boost growth.

In customary pre-budget consultations with finance minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday, industry honchos also flagged the issue of high interest rates and made out a strong case for monetary easing by the Reserve Bank of India ( RBI).

"There are enough indicators that the economy is on the cusp of recovery. CII is certain that a progressive and balanced budget would take the economy to the 7-8% growth trajectory in the near future," said CII president Ajay S Shriram after the meeting. This will be the first full budget of the new NDA government that is widely expected to lay down the economic agenda for the next four years, though it has said reforms will be kept outside the budget purview.

"We had a good discussion and raised several issues. One was that the rate of minimum alternate tax be restricted to 10% to provide a fillip to manufacturing," Shriram told reporters. The CII president suggested a six-pronged strategy for revival of growth. "We are certain the budget will chart out new ideas and initiatives to make the recovery process more robust," he said, adding that the CII suggested steps for boosting agriculture growth, creation of jobs and improving ease of doing business.

Budget 2015: Lower corporate tax, higher spend on India Inc's wishlist
Ficci president Jyotsna Suri called for efforts to move away from the aggressive revenues approach and instead provide "a genuine non-adversarial and conducive tax environment". She requested for rationalisation of tax regime, pointing out, "There is a revenue target for tax officers and (to meet this), they often use irrational demands and coercive methods. They should be judged on performance and not on achievement of targets."
Industry representatives also sought deferral of the General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR) by two years to improve the business climate. For rationalising expenditure, CII suggested all subsidies be limited to only the below poverty households.

Assocham felt the public sector should be goaded into spending more to spur the investment cycle. The industry body's president, Rana Kapoor, said capital expenditure (without fiscal pressures) should be increased by channelising the large surplus of Rs 2 lakh crore-plus with mahanavratnas/navratnas into core sectors. "This should be done expeditiously for an economic multiplier and to generate new business for the infrastructure and adjacent sectors like engineering, capital goods," he suggested.

Exporters sought a resumption in interest subsidy benefits and exemption of all indirect taxes. FIEO President Rafeeq Ahmed said, "Availability of capital and cost of capital is of paramount importance. Banks are reluctant to provide credit to export sector. Bring exports under priority sector lending."

Raymond group chairman and managing director Gautam Singhania said, "The finance minister wanted to know what can be done for the investment climate. I think there is lot of sincerity and commitment to get things done in the budget....We discussed how to kickstart the economy, what can make India more competitive."

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