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India’s FM presents ‘inclusive growth’ budget
February 28, 2013, 10:12 am


Mr Chidambaram waves to the media outside the finance ministry before presenting the annual budget in New Delhi, India [AP]

The Indian finance minister has presented the Union budget for 2013-14 in the Indian Parliament today, stressing on inclusive economic growth.

“There is a compelling moral case for equity; but it is also necessary if there is to be sustained growth.

“A country’s most important resource is its people,” said Palaniappan Chidambaram, the finance minister, quoting economist Joseph Stiglitz.

Mr Chidambaram has tried to calm investor fears amid past controversies with retrospective tax. “Investment is an act of faith,” he said.

The finance minister added: “We will improve communication of our policies to remove any apprehension or mistrust in the minds of investors.

“Doing business in India must be seen as easy, friendly and mutually beneficial.”

Highlights of the budget:

  • 17 per cent more spending on education and vocational training.
  • 22 per cent more spending on agriculture, and 24 per cent more on health.
  • Total budget expenditure seen at 16.65 trillion rupees in 2013/14.
  • To provide 140 billion rupees capital infusion in state-run banks in 2013/14.
  • The current budget earmarks an an additional $1.8 billion for food subsidies.
  • The budget levies a 10 per cent surcharge on Indian taxpayers and companies who reported taxable income of more than Rs100m ($1.8 million) last year. This would be applicable for over a year.
  • Tobacco products, SUVs and mobile phones to cost more.
  • India’s first women’s bank to be set up by October.
  • ‘Nirbhaya Fund’ of Rs 1,000 crore to empower women and provide safety in the wake of Delhi gang-rape incident.
  • Expect 133 billion rupees through direct tax proposals in 2013/14.

Source: Agencies