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Tax exemption limit may go up
May, 21st 2009

The full budget to be presented by the new government in the forthcoming session of Parliament to begin sometime next month may come packed with some concessions for the middle class by way of raising the tax exemption limit to up to Rs 1.75-Rs 2 lakh from the current Rs 1.50 lakh.

The other benefit in the direct tax segments could be withdrawal of the Fringe Benefit Tax. If through, both these measures will result in a tax outgo of around Rs 10,000 crore. Proposals in this regard are under active consideration, indicated a senior official in the finance ministry.

Raising of the tax exemption limit along with the withdrawal of FBT will act as another stimulus since the large middle class population will be left with more money in hand, especially at a time when the government is likely to release the remaining 60% salary arrears of the 6th Pay Commission.

The removal of FBT has also been mooted by the commerce ministry. It had also sought continuation of interest rate subsidy while seeking to further raise it from the existing 2% to 4%.

Sources in the finance ministry said there is no scope for any further cuts in excise duty, customs or service tax as the indirect tax collections had slipped into negative domain towards the end of the last fiscal. With the widening fiscal gap, it is equally important for the government to keep its revenue stream rejuvenated to fund its developmental and social schemes.

The commerce ministry is firmly backing industry's proposals for extending tax sops to export-oriented units, besides the continuation of interest rate subvention till March 2010. In their proposals to the finance ministry, industry chambers had asked the government to include measures in the budget that would promote investment and create additional demand.

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