Tax payers may get more sops in the Union Budget for investment in housing and infrastructure schemes and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee may tomorrow make popular proposals to hearten the investors and industry.
Not only the Budget proposals may contain measures for subsidised wheat and rice at Rs three a kg for the poor, in accordance with the Congress' poll promise, Mukherjee could also announce a roadmap for disinvestments to mop up a substantial sum from sale of government equity in public sector undertakings.
Sources in the Finance Ministry feel that there may not be any tinkering with tax rates, but the salaried-class could get additional income tax exemption benefits.
However, the Finance Minister may seek to shore up revenue through expansion of service tax net, besides withdrawal of some import duty exemptions as inflation is now in negative terrain.
Some of the duty sops offered to the industry as part of three stimulus packages last fiscal could also come in for review, with Planning Commission member Saumitra Chaudhuri saying these were emergency steps and should be withdrawn.
"The word populist has negative overtones. I am sure Finance Minister will present a popular budget", Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia had said on his expectations about the forthcoming budget.