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February 2, 2001
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Sinha tightlipped on fresh taxes after Gujarat quake

Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha on Friday parried questions about fresh tax measures to mobilise resources for reconstruction work of earthquake-hit areas of Gujarat.

"One liners often lead to misunderstanding of the economic policies," Sinha said, declining to comment on any budgetary measures to meet the situation arising from the country's worst calamity.

The Union Cabinet had on Thursday decided to promulgate an ordinance to impose a 2 per cent additional surcharge on income and corporate taxes to mop up Rs 13 billion this fiscal for reconstruction and rehabilitation work in Gujarat, which is expected to cost the economy at least Rs 250 billion.

Sinha had earlier this week dismissed as speculation media reports about a possible surcharge on direct and indirect taxes to garner resources in the context of the national calamity.

The finance minister also refused to comment on whether interest rate would be reduced from the current 8 per cent enabling banks to raise additional funds at cheaper costs and channelise more funds to Gujarat.

The Complete Coverage | List of earthquake sites

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