Indian Budget 2011-12-Full Text of Budget Speech
Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Minister of Finance- February 28, 2011
17. In my last Budget, I had started rolling back the fiscal stimulus implemented over 2008-09 and 2009-10 to mitigate the impact of the global financial crisis on economic slowdown in India. In the course of the year, I have moved further on that path. I believe that a part of the current recovery must be stored away to build future resilience. Indeed, a counter cyclical fiscal policy is our best insurance against external shocks and localised domestic factors.
18. The experience with Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003 (FRBM Act) at Centre and the corresponding Acts at State level show that statutory fiscal consolidation targets have a positive effect on macroeconomic management of the economy. In the course of the year the Central Government would introduce an amendment to the FRBM Act, laying down the fiscal road map for the next five years.
19. The Thirteenth Finance Commission has worked out a fiscal consolidation road map for States requiring them to eliminate revenue deficit and achieve a fiscal deficit of 3 per cent of their respective Gross State Domestic Product latest by 2014-15. It has also recommended a combined States’ debt target of 24.3 per cent of GDP to be reached during this period. The States are required to amend or enact their FRBM Acts to conform to these recommendations.
20. The Government has been in the process of setting-up an independent Debt Management Office in the Finance Ministry. A Middle Office is already operational. As a next step, I propose to introduce the Public Debt Management Agency of India Bill in the next financial year.
21. The introduction of the Direct Taxes Code (DTC) and the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) will mark a watershed. These reforms will result in moderation of rates, simplification of laws and better compliance.
22. As Hon'ble Members are aware, the Direct Taxes Code Bill was introduced in Parliament in August, 2010. After receiving the report of the Standing Committee, we shall be able to finalise the Code for its enactment during
2011-12. This has been a pioneering effort in participative legislation. The Code is proposed to be effective from April 1, 2012 to allow taxpayers, practitioners and administrators to fully understand the legislation and adjust to the revised procedures.
23. Unlike DTC, decisions on the GST have to be taken in concert with the States with whom our dialogue has made considerable progress in the last four years. Areas of divergence have been narrowed. As a step towards the roll-out of GST, I propose to introduce the Constitution Amendment Bill in this session of Parliament. Work is also underway on drafting of the model legislation for the Central and State GST.
24. Among the other steps that are being taken for the introduction of GST is the establishment of a strong IT infrastructure. We have made significant progress on the GST Network (GSTN). The key business processes of registration, returns and payments are in advanced stages of finalisation. The National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) has been selected as technology partner for incubating the National Information Utility that will establish and operate the IT backbone for GST. By June 2011, NSDL will set up a Pilot portal in collaboration with eleven States prior to its roll out across the country.
25. The effective management of public expenditure is an integral part of the fiscal consolidation process. Expenditure has to be oriented towards the production of public goods and services. The extant classification of public expenditure between plan, non-plan, revenue and capital spending needs to be revisited. This is necessary as one recognises the importance of service sector and the knowledge economy for our development. A Committee under Dr. C. Rangarajan has been set up by the Planning Commission to look into these issues.
26. During the year 2010-11, the Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) policy was successfully implemented for all fertilisers except urea. The policy has been well received by all stakeholders, and the availability of fertilisers has improved. The extension of the NBS regime to cover urea is under active consideration of the Government.
27. The Government provides subsidies, notably on fuel and food grains, to enable the common man to have access to these basic necessities at affordable prices. A significant proportion of subsidised fuel does not reach the targeted beneficiaries and there is large scale diversion of subsidised kerosene oil. A recent tragic event has highlighted this practice. We have deliberated for long the modalities of implementing such subsidies. The debate now has to make way for decision. To ensure greater efficiency, cost effectiveness and better delivery for both kerosene and fertilisers, the Government will move towards direct transfer of cash subsidy to people living below poverty line in a phased manner.
28. A task force headed by Shri Nandan Nilekani has been set-up to work out the modalities for the proposed system of direct transfer of subsidy for kerosene, LPG and fertilisers. The interim report of the task force is expected by June 2011. The system will be in place by March 2012.
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