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Govt working on more steps to revive sagging economy: Finance Minister

With an aim to revive the sagging economy, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that the government is working on more steps, including rationalisation of personal income tax rates. She said the government has taken several measures during August and September to boost the economy. She also said that the public sector banks have disbursed nearly Rs 5 lakh crore without compromising on prudential norms in the last two months to boost consumption in the hinterland. Besides, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth slowed down to more than six-year low of 4.5% in the second quarter of the current fiscal from 5% recorded in the first quarter.

Sitharaman said ‘so there are ways for giving stimulus for consumption. We are adopting a direct method and also the method through which we are spending on infrastructure, whose spillover can go to core industries labour and so on’. Assuring that there will be no harassment of taxpayers, she said the intent of the government is to further simplify taxation systems including removal of exemption. Citing the example of corporate tax, she said ‘From now on, they’re moving towards a greater simplified and exemption free. Therefore, has harassment-free therefore subjective interpretation free taxation regime.’

The minister further said the government has introduced faceless assessment of direct tax and soon this will be introduced in indirect tax to eliminate harassment. On the Goods and Services Tax (GST), she said that the rate structure will have to be decided by the GST Council. Eventually, the rates have to be rationalised and the entire tax system has to be simplified. With regards to apprehension raised on the genuineness of data, she said ‘there’s no doubt, we need to bring credibility back to the data’. She added that the government is aware of the debate which is going on data and its credibility, and the intention is to make sure that any kind of inappropriate methodology which is coming into the data will have to be addressed.

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