Some tax proposals under examination: FM

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Pranab Mukherjee
New Delhi, Mar 11: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today (Mar 11) appeared to hint at a review of some tax proposals including those on hospitals while he announced extension of interest subsidy to fishermen and fish farmers and concessions for education and healthcare sectors.

Replying to the general discussion in the Lok Sabha on the Budget for 2011-12, he also announced a Rs 2,370-crore bonanza for MPs by raising allocations under MPLAD scheme from Rs 2 crore to Rs 5 crore.

"Since the presentation of the budget 2011-12, I have received several suggestions and representations, including valuable feedback from members on taxataion proposals.

"These are under examination. I shall respond to these issues in my reply to the discussion on the Finance Bill, 2011 later during this session," Mukherjee said in his hour-long reply to the two-day debate on budget.

After the presentation of the budget, there have been demands made both inside and outside Parliament for rollback of the 5 per cent service tax on centrally air-conditioned private hospitals of 25 beds or more and diagnostic services provided by them.

There was also a demand for withdrawl of Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) of 18.5 per cent on book profit on special economic zone (SEZ) units and developers.

Maintaining that UPA government is sensitive to the problems faced by 20 lakh fish farmers and fishermen, the Finance Minister announced the extension of the existing interest subvention scheme of providing short-term loans to farmers at 7 per cent interest with additional interest subvention for timely repyment to fish farmers and fishermen.

He said investment in education and health sectors has a high priority in government's policy framework and there is a need to further accelerate the creation of infrastructure in this domain.

Mukherjee announced that henceforth capital stock in educational institutions and hospitals will be treated as infrastructure sub-sectors. Accordingly, capital investment for these sub-sectors will be eligible for the viability gap funding scheme of the Finance Ministry.

After the Minister's reply, the House passed the supplementary demands for 2010-11 and relevant appropriation bills, completing the first phase of the three-stage budgetary exercise.

There will be no vote-on-account this year as Parliament proposes to complete the entire budgetary exercise, including the voting on demands for grants of various ministries, this month end itself.

PTI

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