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Account well opened
MUCH OBLIGED MR Jaswant Singh, could be the initial refrain of a swathe of the Indian citizenry. The first budgetary script of the Finance Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, may not have much of magic but more than makes it up with loads of common ... More

BUDGET


Pat on the back in order
The Finance Minister has struck the right note in the Budget, with focus on high-priority areas. Despite fiscal deficit and other concerns, it is, by and large, a daring exercise with focus on growth. True, there's not much on reform, but reforms are a matter of implementation, not speeches, says S. Venkitaramanan. More

Changing the psyche, not the system
Mr Jaswant Singh must have touched a chord in everyone when he identified his task as bringing about de-bureaucratisation rather than deregulation, and changing the psyche rather than the system. More

Well-intended despite detail
UNTIL recently, the Prime Minister and the Planning Commission were making brave noises about 8 per cent growth. At 4.4 per cent, the actual progress last year was almost back to the Hindu Rate of Growth. Hence, it was no surprise that the ... More

A question of horizons
THE Economic Survey reflects economists' aspirations while the Budget reflects the political ambitions of the ruling party. In a country with 28 States and seven Union Territories, it will be hard to find a year that goes without an ... More

A well-balanced exercise
The introduction of the VAT regime from April 1 should signal the onset of more reforms. Mr Singh has shown courage in trying to restructure Central Government finances while taking care of State Government finances, which should ensure fiscal discip line at all levels. More

Private players will miss mass pensions action
ICICI Prudential would have been happy to have an opportunity to be part of the mass pensions segment. More

Emphasis is on reforms, fiscal discipline
The Finance Minister has helped restore confidence in mutual funds as a savings vehicle. If the defined contribution plans and the schemes of the proposed Pension Development and Regulatory Authority use the services of mutual funds too, this industr y is poised to become the savings vehicle of choice for the Indian investor. More

It's driven by political expediency: Swamy
`Even for a status quo vote-on-account Budget, there is a Rs 45,000 crore deficit to begin with which can be covered only by impounding more loan funds meant for private investment.' More

Glowing with promise
I have always considered Mr Jaswant Singh a thinking man's politician and the star in the cabinet. His great work in the external ministry raised my expectations. Given the constraints of the situation, I think he has done a fine job with Budget ... More

A Budget for the common man
Allowing States to restructure their debts including swapping of high cost debts with low cost public or private borrowing will help States to restructure their finances and get out of the debt trap. More

More to spend, but...
THE Budget, a mixed bag for consumers and households, has more positives. While big ticket items such as cars and two-wheelers have seen duty cuts, the spend on day-to-day essentials seems slated to go up: That the benefits estimated for ... More

Too harsh on the edible oils sector
Branded edible oils and vanaspati, so far exempted from excise, have been brought under the eight per cent net with Cenvat benefit. This is a hugely retrograde step as the branded category accounts for less than 10 per cent of the total edible oil co nsumption in the category and is the only section diligently paying its tax dues. More

Well-powered
THE Finance Minister has once again reiterated the intention of passing the Electricity Bill in this session of Parliament. This will go a long way in giving more structure and direction to the power sector and laying out a blueprint for the ... More

This Budget will put economy back on reform path
The introduction of VAT from April 1 will go a long way in rationalising the tax system in the country by reducing the cascading effect of tax on tax. More

Good news for cement sector
The Government has finally acknowledged the need for giving a thrust to concrete roads and has accepted the industry's demand for use of cement in road construction. More

  • `Service tax hike will lead to price spiral'
  • A Budget that means business
  • The package is `growth-oriented'
  • It delivers the goods
  • Understated, practical

    TAXATION


    The boss gets cracking
    HARASSMENT, rent-seeking, patronage, arbitrariness — these are words hurled at the Income-Tax Department engaged in the onerous task of making tax assessments and collecting the resultant taxes. Dr Kelkar was the first to address theses ... More

    Some middling, some meddling
    ON THE direct taxes front, Budget 2003 has come as a damp squib to the middle-class. Leave alone indexing of the tax-free limit to accord with the inflationary forces as is done in the UK, even the more reasonable expectation of upping of the ... More

    What a relief
    THE Budget announcements relating to Central Excise augur well for the textile, pharmaceuticals, IT and biotechnology sectors. The Finance Minister has given special emphasis on various reforms and excise duty concessions for the textile sector. ... More

    He bites the VAT bullet
    THE Finance Minister has set at rest the speculation on the implementation of VAT.State-level VAT would be on from April 1, 2003. CST amendments: In a gradual move towards a fully destination based VAT, amendment to Section 8 of the CST ... More

    At last, he spoke
    JASWANT'S Budget slogged on and on, like an unwilling batsman at the crease, with overs ticking faster than runs. So, when his speech was over after a marathon 130 minutes plus, it was like waking up at the end of an art film. But for the ... More

    Come to grips with the new regime
    X LTD declares dividend of Rs 50 lakh on April 10, 2003. There are only five shareholders in the company and each one of them receives Rs10 lakh. What will be the tax consequence? Solution: According to Section 115-O proposed to be ... More

    Follows the custom
    THE Finance Minister has chosen not to deviate from the path identified by his predecessors, and customs duty changes are on expected lines. The Finance Bill, 2003 contains proposals for amending the Customs Act. A summary of the key changes ... More

    The party is over
    IN HIS Budget speech, the Finance Minister stated that the Constitution would be amended to enable the Centre to levy tax on services. Currently, the tax is levied under the residuary category. This would allay the fear of a service tax provider ... More


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    No big bang, but...

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    Style & substance true to form

    In Focus
    Run-up to Budget
    Kelkar Report
    Bottled water: How safe is it?
    Telecom Competition
    Oil PSUs: Disinvestment dilemma
    Housing Fin. rate war: Bonanza for consumers!
    NPAs in Banking
    In Depth
    Simple Economics
    Consumer Notes
    Tax Talk
    The Brahmananda collections
    NRIs & Investment Avenues
    Corporate Governance
    Gold: Still the winner?
    Cars: Always a beauty
    Books and Reviews
    Looking back
    Feb. 16-Feb. 22
    Oil politics and tensions in West Asia

    Woe to the warmongers

    Savings crucial to 8% growth — Mr Pranab Mukherjee, former Finance Minister

    Exchange rates — REER logic may be unsustainable

    Why not a compromise package?

    `Little faith in budgetary exercise' — Mr Somnath Chatterjee, CPI(M) leader


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