Lok Sabha passes Finance Bill

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New Delhi, Apr 29 (ANI): The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed the Finance Bill for 2010-11 by voice vote with a special relief package for coffee growers, and tax concessions for healthcare, auto and realty sectors.

But there was no change in the levies on petroleum products.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee moved the Bill after fresh amendments, after a 50-minute final reply to the debate held on the subject.

Mukherjee's concessions included a service tax exemption on low-cost housing schemes, income tax rebate for hospitals that have over 100 beds, reduction in excise on craft paper to four percent, and extension of excise rebate on auto components for construction machinery.

He also reduced the customs duty on eleven drugs including those for treatment of AIDS and cancer, exempt components for manufacture of optical discs from such levy and reduced the counterveiling duty on waste paper to 4 percent.

During reply, Mukherjee justified the hike in excise and customs duties on crude oil and some petroleum products.

In the Budget speech on February 26, Mukherjee had proposed to restore the basic duty of five percent on crude oil, 7.5 percent each on diesel and petrol, and five percent on other petroleum products. He also proposed to hike excise on petrol and diesel by Rs.one.

In the budget proposals, air travel on economy class was also sought to be brought into the service tax net.

The government was already imposing such a tax on business and first class air travel.(ANI)

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