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More decisions, measures during Budget passage: FM

February 28, 2013 18:42 IST

Indicating that his hands were tied because the economy is "challenged", Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday said more "measures and decisions" will be announced during the Budget passage in Parliament.

Addressing a post-Budget press conference, he said Budget is not a one-stop or one-step measure and is a continuing process.

"The economy is indeed challenged, challenged in a number of ways. The Economic Survey (released on Wednesday) lists those challenges. Another set of decisions and measures will be announced in reply to Budget discussion and Finance Bill in Parliament," he said.

Chidambaram justified the 10 per cent surcharge on 'super-rich' saying it has been done for just a year because revenues are under pressure and "we have to bring the fiscal deficit to 4.8 per cent (of GDP) in 2013-14."

"Once tax revenues grow, a year later we don’t need the surcharge. It is like a bridge," he said objecting to the media description of 'super-rich' appended to those with income above Rs 1 crore (Rs 10 million).

"I have not used the word super-rich," he said adding that the surcharge would not encourage tax evasion.

He said the bulk of the Rs 13,300 crore (Rs 133 billion) gains projected from direct taxes in the Budget to come from the 10 per cent surcharge imposed on 42,800 super-rich individuals.

To a question why an amnesty scheme was not offered to income tax payers like the one given to service tax defaulters, he said there is no case because of the moderate rates and highly computerised system in vogue to deduct any evasion.

He said the Budget has put any burden on people or spooked any section of market and investors.

"The main thrust of Budget is that we are following a fiscally prudent path and fiscal deficit will be contained at 5.2 per cent in current year and 4.8 per cent in the next," he said.

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