Union Budget 2020 India: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said reforms to boost the economy would continue and hinted at tweaking personal income tax rates in the upcoming Budget. The government is examining the direct tax code (DTC) report concerning PIT, she said in the Rajya Sabha.
Replying to a debate on the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019 that replaces the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019, promulgated on September 20, to cut the base corporate tax rate, the minister also clarified that the lower 15% corporate tax rate for new manufacturing companies will not apply to computer software development, mining and book printing.
Sitharaman cited the government's efforts to control onion prices as also its schemes such as free cooking gas for poor women and financial inclusion programme Jan Dhan Yojana to highlight that the Modi government was not elitist or pompous.
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The finance minister on September 20 announced lowering of the base corporate tax rate to 22% from 30% for companies that do not seek exemptions, and reduced the rate for some new manufacturing companies to 15% from 25%.
"Criticism of the economy is welcome… this government is continuously responding (to the developing situation) and steps are being taken. You may like it or you may not like it. You may think it is adequate or inadequate, I am quite willing to buy that. But not an allegation that this government is elitist. Was (free LPG connection scheme) Ujjwala for elitist? Jan Dhan Yojna, is it for elitist? PM Awas Yojana, is it for elitist? Ayushman Bharat, is that for elitist?" she asked.
She took a dig at former finance minister P Chidambaram for his reported response to price rise in 2012. "What was the statement given by one of the finance ministers when in 2012 price rise was high? 'When urban middle class can buy a bottle of water for Rs 15, why do they make so much noise about price rise'," she said.
(With PTI inputs)