Arun Jaitley says introduction of LTCG tax was a tough call, defends decision to keep personal income tax rate unchanged

In an interview with DD News post the Budget, finance minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said that Indian economy will do well with or without government.

Jaitley said that the last full Budget of the government before the next election reflects views not just of the finance minister but also the prime minister. "One thing you can safely presume about the prime minister is that he doesn’t believe in momentary populism," said the finance minister.

Responding to a question on introduction of the much-talked about long-term capital gains tax (LTCG), Jaitley said it was a tough call and was pending for years.

Talking about Goods and Services Tax (GST), which has stood as the highest contributor for the government in terms of collection of revenues, the finance minister said that the indirect tax revenue will bump up more once anti-evasion measures are put in place.

A file image of FM Arun Jaitley. PTI.

A file image of FM Arun Jaitley. PTI.

Defending his move to keep income tax rate unchanged, Jaitley said that he has been giving tax relief to the small taxpayers for the last two years.

"You can't get tax slab lower than this. We can't serve national interest by reducing tax slab. Tax compliance is still not very high," said the finance minister.

Jaitley said that the proposal to lower corporate tax rate to 25 percent for businesses with turnover up to Rs 250 crore has been introduced so that Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) will be able to invest more in the market which will subsequently help to generate new jobs.

With industry experts speculating that the Budget might set India's food prices on fire, the finance minister said that the country has come out of a high inflation era and added that oil price is the only cause of concern.

India Inc praised the Union Budget 2018-19 and welcomed the populist approach of focusing on infrastructure and rural India.

Sandeep Jajodia, President, ASSOCHAM on Thursday said that Jaitley has placed a huge emphasis on agriculture and rural India, allocating bulk of resources to interior landscape, while helping the middle class, salaried employees along with relief to senior citizens, measures which would boost consumer demand and help revive economic growth.

"The wide-ranging measures announced for various segments of the rural economy will boost income levels and create gainful and sustainable employment. This, in turn, will help increase consumption levels in the economy," Chanda Kochhar, MD and CEO, ICICI Bank was quoted as saying by IANS.

Congress leader P Chidambaram on Thursday, however, slammed the Union Budget, terming the promise of Rs 5 lakh for health care for poor families as "a big jumla", and said there was "tokenism" on creating jobs and nothing to indicate rise in farmers income.

"It is the last full budget of this government, and I should add ‘thank god for that," the former Union finance minister told reporters.

With inputs from IANS

Click here for full coverage of Budget 2018 

Updated Date: Feb 02, 2018 12:19 PM

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