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Budget prescription: Economists for rich tax, hike in excise, service tax
February, 26th 2013

Ahead of the Budget, economists prescribed higher income tax rate for those earning annual income of Rs 15 lakh, increasing service and excise duty rate to stick to fiscal consolidation path of reining in the Centre's fiscal deficit to 4.8 per cent of GDP in 2013-14 from 5.3 per cent, pegged for the current financial year.

The main priority for the Central government is to restore fiscal deficit to 4.8 per cent of GDP or lower, economist Shankar Acharya said at a recently held conference organised by think tank Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) and germany-based Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS).

He suggested raising the personal income tax rate for income bracket above Rs 15 lakh, amid talks of the rich tax.

Acharya also prescribed raising of excise and service tax from the current 12 per cent, moving various concessional rates in excise towards higher Cenvat rate.

He said the government will have to be persevering with reduction of oil subsidies.

Planning commission member Saumitra Chaudhuri said the challenge is to create conditions to tackle falling investment rate, incrasing supply to cater to demand to contain infaltion and augment saving rate.

He said the government can intervene is in the field of infrastructure, i.e. facilitating higher private investment in the crucial sector.

He exuded optimism about returning to 8 per cent annual growth rate in the absence of external shocks and if slippages in infrastructure investment are tackled.

India's economy is headed towards a decade-low growth in the current financial year. Advance estimates by the Central Statistics Office pegged it at five per cent for , while the finance ministry is hopeful that ultimately it would turn out to be 5.5 per cent when actual data come. Even 5.5 per cent growth would be a decade-bottom growth.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram has come out with a five-year road map for fiscal consolidation. According to the road map, the Centre's fiscal deficit would be reined in at 5.3 per cent in 2012-13 against 5.1 per cent estimated in the Budget, and then every year it would be lowered by 0.5-0.6 percentage points. It would then come down to 4.8 per cent in the next financial year and ultimately to three per cent by 2016-17, the terminal year of the 12th five year plan.

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