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Partial stimulus rollback likely in Budget

business Updated: Feb 21, 2010 14:00 IST

PTI
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Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will present Budget on Friday, amid speculation that excise duty may be raised as part of a partial rollback of the stimulus measures.

However, direct tax rates are not likely to be tweaked for the time being as the Finance Ministry is unlikely to
initiate reforms on the direct taxes code now, which is still being debated at various government levels, sources said.

The direct taxes code, which will replace the archaic Income Tax Act, is unlikely to come in the budget session,
that begins from Monday, the sources added.

The Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council had also pitched for raising of excise duty to the level of service tax
and broadening the service tax net. Currently excise duty stands at 8 per cent and service tax at 10 per cent.

After the Central Statistical Organisation estimated economic growth at 7.2 per cent for this fiscal against 6.7
per cent a year ago, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Sigh Ahluwalia had also said, "we should say stimulus has succeeded and we should begin to phase it now."

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma had also said those export sectors which moved into a very robust growth level could stand to see stimulus withdrawn.

However, leading industry chambers Ficci, CII, and PHDCCI are strongly opposed to any withdrawal of the stimulus
measures as they say economic revival is not broad-based yet.