Revised DTC draft in first week of June: Mitra

The Direct Taxes Code is expected to replace the archaic Income Tax Act, 1961 by the next fiscal

The government today said that the revised draft of the Direct Taxes Code (DTC), which is aimed at simplifying the tax structure, would be made available for public comments in the first week of June, reports PTI.

"Revised discussion note on the Direct Tax Code will be revealed in the first week of June and will remain open for (public comments ) for 15 days," Union revenue secretary Sunil Mitra said at the Bengal National Chamber of Commerce and Industry function held in Kolkata.

He was hopeful of DTC becoming a law by the next Budget session. "By Budget session, it should be a law," Mr Mitra said.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has also said that the bill on DTC was likely to be tabled in the monsoon session of Parliament.

The government had come out with the first draft on DTC in August last year.

However, it drew flak from certain quarters for its proposals such as imposing a minimum alternate tax (MAT) on gross assets and taxing long-term savings at the time of withdrawal.

The silence on giving income tax rebate on housing loans was also criticised and these grievances are expected to be addressed in the revised draft.

The finance minister has said that in all nine concerns were considered while revising the first draft.

DTC is expected to replace archaic Income Tax Act, 1961 by the next fiscal and present a simple direct tax structure to the country.


India's economy to expand by 8.5% in FY10-11: PM

Growth had slipped to 6.5% in 2008-09 at the height of the economic crisis triggered by collapse of financial institutions in the West

Prime minister Manmohan Singh today said the economy is expected to grow by 8.5% this fiscal and the country was capable of achieving 10% expansion in the medium term, reports PTI.

The forecast comes on top of an estimated 7.2% growth in 2009-10, the year that saw India weather the effects of the global economic crisis.

"We need a rapidly growing economy to generate productive employment and also resources to finance our ambitious social and economic agenda," Mr Singh said at a national press conference in New Delhi to mark completion of one year of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)-II in office.

Growth had slipped to 6.5% in 2008-09 at the height of the economic crisis triggered by collapse of financial institutions in the West.

"Our medium term target is to achieve a growth rate of 10% per annum. I am convinced that given our savings and investment rates, this is an achievable target," Mr Singh, regarded as the architect of India's financial reforms, said.

India's savings and investment rate is nearly 35% of GDP, next only to China's 49%.

"However, its (high growth) achievement will require determined efforts to increase investment in social and economic infrastructure, enhance productivity in agriculture and give a fresh impetus to the manufacturing sector," the prime minister said.

"Our annual rate had averaged 9% for four years before the crisis. It reduced to 6.5% in 2008-09, but recovered to 7.2% in 2009-10. We expect 8.5% growth in this financial year," he said, noting that the first concern in the wake of the financial crisis was to protect the economy from the global slowdown.

This had prompted the government to deviate from fiscal prudence by way of stimulus measures (involving high borrowings to step up public spending and foregoing of revenue to boost manufacturing), leading to fiscal deficit shooting to over 6% of GDP—a broad measure of a country's economic wealth.

In the budget for 2010-11, the government partially withdrew the stimulus, saying economic recovery was strong.

"The record of our first year is a record of reasonable achievement," Mr Singh said.


Inflation to moderate to 5%-6% by December: PM

“High inflation, international financial crisis and high prices of petroleum products in the global markets are to blame”

Prime minister Manmohan Singh today said the government was confident of bringing down inflation to 5%-6% by December, while blaming high prices on the global developments such as the financial crisis, reports PTI.

"Prices continue to be a matter of concern ... it is affecting the country's masses ... but I believe by December we can bring it down to 5% to 6%," he told reporters at his national press conference here to mark the completion of one year United Progressive Alliance (UPA)-II in office.

Mr Singh said the government has been monitoring inflation and has been taking measures to check the rising prices, particularly food products hit by poor monsoons last year.

"But for this (high inflation), international financial crisis and high prices of petroleum products in the global markets are to blame. Besides, droughts and floods in some parts of the country last year also affected our economy as whole," Mr Singh said.

Monsoon accounts for a bulk of rains India receives and nearly 66% of the country's agriculture sector depends on rains for cultivation.

High food and fuel prices fuelled overall inflation to over 10% in February and provisional numbers for April put it at 9.59%.

"As a result of steps we have taken, there are signs of prices showing a moderating trend," Mr Singh said.

"We are closely monitoring the situation and together with state governments take all steps to bring down prices and protect the vulnerable section of our society from the impact of high prices," the PM added.

Food inflation, which had shot above 20% in December has since moderated but is still above 16%.


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