Amid talks of a tax on super rich, Members of Parliament (MPs) today suggested Budget 2013-14 should focus on middle class and the tax network should be made broad based.
In the first meeting of this year of the Consultative Committee with Finance Minister P Chidambaram, some of the members suggested the Budget should be practical, reasonable and visionary. They said it should be growth-oriented, give incentive for job creation and recognition to young entrepreneurs.
Some members focused on the incentives for the youth stating that home loans may be provided at cheaper rate of interest for the youth up to the age of 35 years and scope of MGNREGA be expanded to include creation of human assets along with physical assets in the rural areas. It was also suggested to include fertilizer and seed subsidy under direct benefit transfer scheme at the earliest.
“It should focus on water conservation and urban renewable by tackling both environmental and physical degradation in this area,” a finance ministry statement quoted them as saying.
Some members suggested giving incentives to small agro based and food processing industries in rural areas to create more employment opportunities for rural people which would help in tackling the problem of migration from rural to urban areas. They said rural based infrastructure should also be given priority to achieve the same objective.
It was also suggested to focus on providing of drinking water facilities, tackling of garbage problem and sewerage related issues and providing basic facilities of health and education in rural areas. For that they suggested that the budget of the Ministries of Rural Development and Human Resource Development may not be reduced.
Suggestions were made to enlarge the scope of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana to include small village hamlets rather than covering only revenue villages. Some suggestions were made regarding setting-up of Skill Development Centres at district level to make them easily accessible to the youth.
The MPs said there was a need to minimise the centrally sponsored schemes and focus on quality control and enforcement of those central schemes which are 100% funded by the Central Government. They cautioned hijacking of centrally sponsored schemes by the State governments should be seriously dealt with.
Suggestions also included giving relief from dividend distribution tax to the Indian companies which have set-up subsidiary companies outside in foreign countries and want to bring the dividend back to the country. Relief from excise duty on 14 inch color TV sets below the cost of Rs 2,000 was also sought. It was suggested to include multi-level car parking projects back in the infrastructure sector. Suggestions to reduce service tax on food items, clarification regarding service tax on storage of food grains and customs duty relief on sports equipments etc. were also made.
Members of the Consultative Committee who participated in the meeting included Anto P. Antony, Narahari Mahato, Partap Singh Bajwa, Neeraj Shekhar, Suresh C. Angadi, Vijay Inder Singla and W. Bhausaheb Rajaram (all Members of Lok Sabha); Ajay Sancheti, Birender Singh, Rajkumar Dhoot, S.P. Singh Baghel, Shantaram Naik, Ashok Sekhar Ganguly, Ishwarlal Jain and Murli Deora (all Members of Rajya Sabha).