Budget 2010: PMEAC for hike in duties

Rangarajan

PMEAC made a case for a partial roll back of stimulus by way of raising excise duties.

Ahead of the Budget, Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) made a case for a partial roll back of stimulus by way of raising excise duties and reducing expenditure – which would automatically help reduce the fiscal deficit.

“There is a case for adjustment of duties…adjustments are possible both on the revenue side and the expenditure side in order to bring down fiscal deficit,” PMEAC Chairman C Rangarajan said after releasing the Review of the Economy 2009-10.

The Review said the economy would grow by over 7.2 per cent during the current fiscal and exceed 8 per cent in the next.

PMEAC member Govinda Rao said, “Partially, we need to roll back and if you partially roll back, you need to unify (excise duty and service tax rates).”

A uniform excise and service tax rates would imply raising of excise duty to 10 per cent. It is also possible that both rates may be raised to 12 per cent.

“There is one possibility that you unify both the rates at 10 per cent. There is another possibility… that both be raised to 12 per cent,” Rao said.

As part of the stimulus package given to the industry to combat the impact of the global financial crisis, the government, in two tranches, reduced the excise duty from 14 per cent to 8 per cent and service tax from 12 per cent to 10 per cent.

Rao, however, clarified that he is not making any suggestion to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and it was up to him to take a call in the Budget.

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