Home > Business > Business Headline > Report
Govt in a fix over Rajnath Singh report
BS Political Bureau in New Delhi |
January 24, 2003 12:50 IST
The Union finance ministry is believed to have conveyed to the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership its reservations on making the Rajnath Singh Committee report public because Budget preparations have begun.
This indicates that recommendations will find an important place in the forthcoming Budget.
The party leadership on Thursday again cancelled the release of the report, which is critical of the Vijay Kelkar Committee recommendations on tax reforms. The panel has suggested "measures" to win over the salaried class and farmers.
Given the tight fiscal situation, the government and the party are unlikely to come to a situation of conflict.
Sources in the committee say the finance ministry is wary of making the Rajnath Singh Committee report public, which will be seen as the party's commitment to people.
"Let the Rajnath Singh Committee recommendations remain a communication between the party and the government," said a senior party leader.
But the party's predicament betrayed its nervousness in committing itself to "certain populist measures" before the Budget presentation.
"Let Union Finance Minister Jaswant Singh come and the report will be released," BJP chief M Venkaiah Naidu told his party colleagues and the former UP chief minister who headed the party panel.
Naidu plans to submit the eight-page document to the finance minister on his return from abroad next week.
Rajnath Singh was scheduled to brief the media about his recommendations. This is the third time that the party leadership has dithered on releasing the report.
The committee, which studied the political impact of the Kelkar report, has suggested certain measures which will have an adverse impact on the fiscal situation, sources say.
However, there is a serious re-thinking within the party whether to make the report public or not.
Sources say the report, if released, will be categorical commitment of the BJP to people and enable the Opposition to hit at the government during the Budget session.
Senior party leaders also feared an adverse political impact if the government could not accept certain suggestions by the Singh committee.
"For instance, the committee's recommendation to enhance the limit of IT exemption while retaining the standard deduction may not find favour with the finance ministry," said a senior leader.
At the same time, the committee's suggestion to retain tax saving exemptions and link exemption to infrastructure development is frowned upon in certain quarters in the government as "bad economics".
Though Rajnath Singh was in constant touch with the FM while drafting the report, there are indications that some of his recommendations may cause embarrassment to the government.