New Delhi: Amid expectations of a raise in the limit of tax exemption by the salaried class, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram at around 11 am began presenting the Union Budget 2013-14 on Thursday.
The finance minister began saying that the Indian economy has been hit by the global economic crisis too and growth would be his priority as the government has to navigate the economy through the tough situation. He said there is a compelling necessity of equity in India and without growth development and inclusiveness is not possible.
He said only China and Indonesia are growing faster than India.
He said the current account deficit is his big worry. He said foreign investment is imperative and investment that is good for India should be encouraged.
He said inflation has to be curbed and food inflation is particularly worrying.
According to an ASSOCHAM survey, more than 89% said that the slab of tax free income has not moved up in line with real inflation. The current basic exemption limit of Rs. 2,00,000 should be increased to at least Rs, 3,00,000 with the limit for women going upto Rs 3,50,000 Lakhs to enchance the purchasing power of individuals and stimulate demand.
While high hopes are pinned on the budget to be placed in the Parliament, Chidambaram on Wednesday presented the Economic Survey 2012-13 in the Lok Sabha stating that the Gross Tax Revenue in April-December, 2012 has grown year-on-year by 15 percent to reach Rs. 6,83,345 crore.
This was higher than that of 12.2% in April-December 2011.
It, however, falls significantly short of the growth envisaged by the budget estimates of 2012-13 (Rs. 10,77,612 crore).