Manmohan Singh approves interim budget for presentation Monday

February 15th, 2009 - 8:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sunday went through the documents related with the interim budget that will be presented to parliament Monday, and after the approval of the house forwarded to President Pratibha Patil for her assent, as per convention.

The prime minister also formally approved the speech of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who will be presenting the interim budget to the Lok Sabha, said official sources.

Mukherjee, who has been given the additional charge of finance, called on Manmohan Singh at the prime minister’s official Race Course Road residence to apprise him of the measures to be announced in the interim budget.

The prime minister, who holds the finance portfolio, is convalescing after a heart surgery last month.

Ahead of the presentation of the interim budget, expectations were high from India Inc, as the current economic slowdown has pulled down the country’s merchandise exports as well as industrial output.

Although the measures to be announced by Mukherjee will be interim in nature, industry said exceptional circumstances called for special steps. The regular budget for the next fiscal will be tabled after inauguration of a new government following national elections in three months’ time.

Industry chambers have accordingly given their wish list and top of that is tax break for both the corporate sector and individuals, as it would have a direct impact on the finances of industries and households alike and help lift demand.

“Tax rate reduction is desirable in the current context,” said Suresh Tendulkar, who chairs Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Economic Advisory Council. “This will essentially generate more purchasing power,” he said ahead of the budget.

Industry feels it is unlikely that Mukherjee would ignore the suggestion from such a high-powered panel.

As the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has announced two stimulus packages since December, industry feels this will be the last chance for the government to comprehensively address the economic slowdown before the ensuing elections.

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