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Firm on selloffs, says FM

HICCUPS IN the economic reforms notwithstanding, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram says the Centre will go ahead with equity sale in non-navratna profit-making PSUs.

india Updated: Jan 12, 2006 02:07 IST

HICCUPS IN the economic reforms notwithstanding, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram says the Centre will go ahead with equity sale in non-navratna profit-making PSUs.

“We’ve taken on board the formal position of some parties,” he said on Wednesday. “We’ll monetise small portions of the government equity in non-navratna PSUs and the proceeds would be invested through the National Investment Fund.”

His statement came a day before the meeting of the coordination committee with the Left parties. And it came close on the heels of the Centre’s decision to sell its equity in Maruti Udyog Ltd and the Power Finance Corporation.
Chidambaram ruled out the possibility of scrapping the fringe benefit tax (FBT). Recently, India Inc had sought the complete withdrawal of the tax.

Speaking at a meeting of the Forum of Financial Writers, he said, “Taxing fringe benefits is a universal practice. It also ensures vertical and horizontal equity.” He said some simplifications in administering the FBT could be expected in the budget.

About the food subsidy cut, Chidambaram conceded the cabinet decision had been put on hold and a view would be taken after consultations with the Congress and the Left parties.

On oil subsidies, he said a part of the subsidy burden would be on the government’s balance sheet while the other would be borne by state-owned oil firms.

First Published: Jan 12, 2006 02:07 IST