Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Friday reasserted the Narendra Modi government’s blueprint for putting the stagnant economy back on the growth trajectory — keeping taxes low, rationalising subsidies, boosting the infrastructure and housing sectors and bring "civility in the tax regime".
Blaming the UPA government’s policy paralysis and retro tax amendment for the current economic slowdown, the finance minister asserted: "Being pro-poor and pro-business is not a contradiction. If businesses don’t flourish the government will not have revenues to help the poor."
"There are a series of steps we have to take. The Budget had only some of those steps. It only shows direction… There will be many steps which will be taken outside the Budget. It is not necessary that everything is announced in the budget," Jaitley said, replying to the debate on the Union Budget in the Lok Sabha.
The first stage consideration of the Budget was completed on Friday with the Lok Sabha approving it. Now, the second stage consideration will involve discussion on demands for grants followed by the approval of the Finance Bill.
The finance ministers said he would bring about "civility" in tax structure — a reference to the coercive tax regime that has, in the opinion of some commentators, led to controversial tax demands on Indian and multinational companies.
"If you put higher taxes on products, people will buy products from outside. Lower taxes will lead to increased economic activity," he said.