ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Heavy Agenda

The quite exceptional reception that the budget has got must be attributed as much, if not more, to the finance minister’s declarations of economic policy intentions not quite germane to the budgetary exercise as to what he has to offer by way of fiscal measures. Of course, the halving of the tax on dividends, the withdrawal of surcharges on corporate and non-corporate taxpayers, except the 2 per cent surcharge imposed in the wake of the Gujarat earthquake, and the unexpectedly steep cut of 1.5 percentage points in interest rates on provident funds and small savings schemes (which together with the two one-half percentage point cuts in the Bank rate by the Reserve Bank is expected to lower interest rates all round) have all been predictably greeted with applause. For all that, not a few of the finance minister’s claims for the budget, viewed as a fiscal exercise strictly, fail to quite stand up to scrutiny.

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