economic survey tabled; highlights

Corporate Laws and Indirect Taxation Laws Practitioner.

 Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday tabled the Economic Survey for 2008-09 that prescribes doing away with cess, surcharges on taxes, including Fringe Benefit Tax, and sweeping refroms in areas like petrol pricing and financial sector.

The Economic Survey comes days before the presentation of the general budget by Mukherjee and is the progress card on the economy for the year gone by and also makes suggestions for the government.

Following are the highlights of the pre-Budget Economic Survey: 2008-09. 

  • Unleash reforms - phase out cesses, surcharges and transaction taxes (such as commodities transaction tax, securities transaction tax and Fringe Benefit Tax)
  • Introduce new Income Tax Code that results in neutral corporate tax regime
  • 7-7.5% growth possible in 2009-10
  • Allow 49% FDI in defence and insurance; permit FDI in multi-format retail starting with food
  • Proposes another round of fiscal stimulus including tax cuts and increase in expenditure
  • Decontrol petrol and diesel prices; end Govt monopoly in railways, coal and nuclear energy
  • Lift all bans on future contracts to restore price discovery; decontrol sugar and fertiliser
  • Revitalise disinvestment programme to generate Rs 25,000 crore annually, list all PSUs and auction those beyond revival
  • Economic growth decelerated in 2008-09 to 6.7 per cent from nine per cent in 2007-08
  • Fiscal deficit in 2008-09 shot up to over 6 per cent from 2.7 per cent in 2007-08
  • Survey indicates FRBM-II to get back to path of fiscal consolidation
  • Complete the process of selling 5-10 per cent equity in identified profit-making non-'Navratna' PSUs
  • List all unlisted PSUs and sell a minimum 10 per cent equity to public.
  • Auction all loss-making PSUs that cannot be revived
  • In PSUs with zero networth, allow negative bidding in the form of debt write-off
  • Auction 3G spectrum
  • The auctioned spectrum must be freely tradable, with capital gains on spectrum to be taxed under the Income Tax Act
  • Rationalise Dividend Distribution Tax to ensure full single taxation of returns to capital in the hands of the receiver
  • Reform petroleum (LPG, Kerosene), fertiliser and food subsidies to reduce leakages and ensure targeting
  • Limit LPG subsidy to a maximum of 6-8 cylinders per annum per household
  • Phase out kerosene supply-subsidy by ensuring that every rural household has a solar cooker and solar lantern
  • Review customs duty exemptions and move to a uniform duty structure to eliminate inverted duties
  • Implement GST from April 1, 2010
  • Rapid operationalisation of UID Authority within 3 months
  • Agriculture growth fell sharply to 1.6 per cent in 2008-09 from 4.9 per cent
  • Exports grew at 3.4 per cent to 168 billion dollar in 2008-09 from 163 billion dollar in previous fiscal
  • Imports grew at 14.3 per cent to $287.75 bn from $251.65 bn
  • Trade balance deteriorated to $119.05 bn from $88.52 bn.




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