Weeks before the Lok Sabha elections, finance minister P Chidambaram reached out to a wide swathe of voters —youth, minorities, Dalits, tribals, women, farmers and the middle class — who had formed the core support base of the Congress-led UPA in the 2004 and 2009 general elections.
Audi and Mercedes-Benz cut prices by up to Rs 3.82 lakh, while Tata Motors announced their intent to follow suit after FM reduced excise on automobiles on Monday.
Finance minister P Chidambaram on Monday announced that the defence budget for 2014-15 had been hiked from Rs 203,672 crore to Rs 224, 000 crore, a 10% increase over last fiscal’s outlay.
The Sachar panel, set up by PM Manmohan Singh to probe disadvantages faced by Muslims, had pointed out in its report that a vast majority of Muslims were self-employed and that access to credit at reasonable rates was a major factor holding back their businesses.
The government has set a target of Rs 36,925 crore that it expects to earn by selling equity in state-owned companies in 2014-15 even as it halved target by more than half to Rs 16,027 crore for the current financial year.
Two of India’s biggest tax reform initiatives — the Direct Taxes Code and the Goods and Services Tax — will have to wait until a new Lok Sabha and a new government is in place, thereby slowing down efforts made over the years on consensus-building to modernise the country’s tax laws.
When he took over as finance minister in August 2012, P Chidambaram had identified taming of the twin deficits — the current account and the fiscal gaps — as among his topmost priorities.
The Opposition hurled brickbats at P Chidambaram’s interim budget that showcased UPA’s achievements at length, calling it a ‘farewell speech’ and a “populist budget that will hurt the economy”.
India’s food output is growing twice as fast as its population, and has joined a small club of nations to do so, FM P Chidambaram said on Monday, underlining a triumph on a key front from the UPA government ready to fight polls amid a welter of political charges and corruption scandals.
In a bid to boost demand and revive manufacturing growth, finance minister P Chidambaram on Monday reduced excise duties for key sectors like automobiles, consumer non durables and telecom.
Grabbing his last chance to please voters before the general elections, P Chidambaram on Monday cut excise duties on a range of consumer goods and cars, deft tweaks that could lift consumption and boost industry but leave his successor with plenty of headaches. Full Coverage: Interim budget 2014
| Mood in Parliament
For the first time in the last few days, a minister's speech did not get drowned in opposition-sponsored disturbances. It was also the first time in the recent past that no visitors were allowed to sit in the Lok Sabha galleries to witness the presentation of a budget.
Finance minister P Chidambaram presented the 2014 interim budget on Monday. He tried to win over key sections of the country with his budget. These announcements are expected to leave many smiling.Full Coverage: Interim budget 2014