Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday exhorted India Inc to shed its hesitation and make investments to push up economic growth, saying the government had taken several pro-business measures such as reduction in corporation tax rates, removing minimum alternate tax in the new tax structure, and scrapping dividend distribution tax (DDT) levied on companies.
“We have done whatever little we can. We are ready to do more. But I want meaningful interventions from the government and not the ones which are irrelevant to the ground situation. Now, we expect you to be an equal engine to pull the economy forward,” she said at a post-Budget interaction, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Sitharaman said government spending alone could not pull the economy towards the growth rates that all wanted in today’s conditions.
“Critics say the government has reduced corporation tax rates, but where are the investments? It is six months now,” she said, apparently nudging the captains of industry to pump money into the economy.
She said some people had told her that maybe businesses were repaying their debts to banks by using tax savings. “I am quite happy with that
too. At least banks are getting money. If you are giving dividends, it is equally good, as money is going back to shareholders,” she said.
“If you are saving dollars, I am quite okay with that, because beyond a point, that savings has to find a productive use,” she added.
The FM said it was the choice of the corporate where to use the money which it got after the government's decisions. “Each one of us has to become engine of growth. Enterprise spirit is yours, we are facilitators," she added.
She added the intention of her proposal to give options of lower tax rates without exemptions to personal income taxpayers was to eventually have low tax rates with a simple regime. “This would be reflected in other taxes as well, including DDT,” she said in response to a question. Sitharaman, along with all the secretaries of her ministry, will be travelling to Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata, beginning Friday, to discuss the Budget decisions. Interactions with industry and trade bodies, economists, and farmers groups are scheduled, the finance minister said.
The special window for stressed housing projects has begun as a lot of funds of the construction sector are stuck. As many as 13 projects have been sanctioned so far, Economic Affairs Secretary Atanu Chakraborty said.