Vijay Kelkar’s report on fiscal consolidation was commissioned by Finance Minister P Chidambaram soon after his return to North Block. Now that it’s in the public domain, the finance ministry is finding the report, with its blunt recommendations for slashing the subsidy bill, too hot to handle in political terms. So, Chidambaram has decided to opt for more consultation before implementing the report. This decision has created a cycle: now, the recommendations of the Parthasarathi Shome Committee on retrospective taxation submitted on Monday will also be put up for further consultation, although he said the guidelines for General Anti-Avoidance Rules will be out in 20 days. The big question here is: did the government set up these committees to clarify its position on critical issues and take hard measures quickly or just delay them?
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