Budget of 'conscience' | india | Hindustan Times
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Budget of 'conscience'

A budget prepared with "head and heart" with emphasis on agriculture, industrial growth, development and fiscal stability, Union finance minister P. Chidambaram's told reporters after presenting Budget 2006-07 on Tuesday.

india Updated: Mar 01, 2006 02:02 IST

A budget prepared with "head and heart" with emphasis on agriculture, industrial growth, development and fiscal stability, Union finance minister P. Chidambaram's told reporters after presenting Budget 2006-07 on Tuesday.

Chidambaram denied he was under pressure from any quarter while preparing the budget. He said he was driven by the National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP), the PM, the chairperson of National Advisory Committee and his conscience. A confident Chidambaram said the budget was primed to attract investment into the economy, which would automatically lead to growth. There are huge differences in India and the issues have to be addressed with a head and heart, he said.

Speaking to mediapersons, the finance minister said the emphasis on Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, health, unemployment, infrastructure and agriculture were reflective of the fact that the UPA government's "head and heart" were in the right place.

On the thrust to the agriculture sector, Chidambaram pointed out that crop credit that has been reduced from 9 per cent to 7 per cent would help farmers and rev up the farm sector.

He said his second budget, like the previous one, was committed to implement the NCMP. "We have finetuned the tax rate, dropped the excise duty which we are confident will crowd investments, both foreign and domestic." Citing the immediate cut in prices by two car manufacturers following his announcement to cut excise duty on small cars, Chidambaram said" "I am confidant that these measures will help in addition of new capacities and India can become a manufacturing hub for small cars." Responding to a question on cluster development proposed by him not only to promote manufacturing but also to renew industrial town and building new industrial townships, Chidambaram welcomed the concepts of "theme townships" and highlighted that his ministry was open to foreign investment.

Clarifying the rationale behind removing 1/6 scheme for bringing in more people under the tax net, Chidambaram said, "We have more sharper instruments like AIR and other measures to keep a tab on high value transactions and the 1/6 scheme has served its purposes, so we have removed it."

Expressing confidence about the growth in power sector, he said the budget has highlighted that there would be a shortage of power, but with award of five ultra-mega power projects the shortfall of about 7,000 megawatt can be bridged.