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Economy calls for a big push in investment

THE measures proposed in the Union Budget are necessary but not sufficient for achieving the ambitious target of 10 per cent growth rate. The enhancement in budgetary provisions to the tune of Rs 18,696 crore for Bharat Nirman shows the Centre’s commitment to infrastructural development. The agricultural credit concessions in terms of lower interest rate on loans is stressful to honest farmers who commit suicide for not getting remunerative price for their produce despite bumper crops. The only cure is remunerative price and not credit which is a chronic disease in itself.

Ignoring the interests of small-scale industry is bad. The take off mode of the economy calls for a big push in investment. Enhanced investment in human capital would certainly boost the growth rate. The setting up of new hotel management institutes in Haryana is laudable. This, of course, calls for reviving the LTC scheme for government employees. The enhancement of old age pension, in conformity with the Haryana scheme, is equally laudable.

Prof M.M. GOEL, Dept. of Economics, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra



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— Editor-in-Chief

 

II

The move to allow the fixed deposits in banks for income-tax exemption is welcome. However, several schemes provide insurance benefits as well as growth in investment and the investors are still eligible for income-tax exemption. Their lock-in period is also three years.

Therefore, in its present form, the investors are unlikely to be motivated to put their deposits in banks for a period of five years. Preferably, the lock-in period of the fixed deposits should be reduced to three years to make this proposal more attractive.

The subsidies on soft drinks are unnecessary as they are pocketed by the multinational companies and the benefits are not passed on to the consumers. Preferably, the incentives on juices etc. could be increased, as has been attempted this time.

Dr TEJINDER SHARMA, Kurukshetra

III

I refer to Paranjoy Guha Thakurta’s article “Chidambram overcautious: Budget could have spread more happiness” (March 3). When the economy is growing at the rate of over 8 per cent, the stock market is booming and savings and investment levels are increasing, the Finance Minister should have given full tax exemption to the salaried class up to Rs 2 lakh.

The salaried class is already under heavy tax burden with house tax, property tax, water tax, tax on use of electricity and telephone, purchase of household items and so on.

The Union Budget should have offered cheaper credit facilities to the farm sector, Self-Help Groups and artisans with a lower interest rate of about 4 per cent. The agriculture, irrigation and small and medium enterprises sector should have been allocated more to generate employment. There is need for fuller realisation of the existing tax potential and plugging the Rs 4.5-lakh crore tax revenue loss.

PURAN SINGH, Rewari

IV

The Union Budget has been generally hailed, but as a Service officer’s wife, I wish we could get some respite from the income-tax. Army officers are the most honest taxpayers. An army officer gives back to the exchequer nearly one-fifth of his salary in tax which is deducted at source. This further reduces his just adequate pay.

Most service officers neither have any inclination for money matters nor time for monetary investments, etc. They are committed to their jobs and serving the nation. Money, politics and women are not even discussed inside the Officers’ Mess. So, let the government take care of their monetary health so that they can lead a quality of life commensurate to their rank and status. Let’s pay them well and reduce their tax burden.

MADHU R.D. SINGH, Ambala Cantonment

V

A readjustment of personal taxes is possible. A man at the age of 50 years is in the thick of financial responsibilities. All citizens of this age group should be given similar benefit as are extended to women.

Sixty years should be the criterion for senior citizen benefit. Special benefit should be given to those who touch 65 years and above as health problems cost them heavily.

If a person has Rs 1 lakh to save, why cannot he pay taxes? Such limit should be reduced to Rs 50,000 to give tax benefit of Rs 5,000. In the present scheme, the rich are better benefited than the poor.

Prof B.S. AGGARWAL, Panchkula

Pakistan must free Indian soldiers

THE Punjab Assembly’s resolution requesting the Centre to help secure the speedy release of 54 soldiers languishing in Pakistan jails is welcome (March 10). However, little has been done in the past 35 years in this regard.

The problem is that Pakistan has never admitted that it has any of our 54 soldiers in its jails. Besides blunt denials, Pakistan has never let India or any third party to get this issue scrutinised.

Moreover, it is against the international law to detain prisoners of war for well over three decades. Last year, I wrote to Pakistan President General Musharaff but he didn’t respond. We must speed up our efforts and pray the Almighty for their speedy release.

SUBHASH C. CHAUDHRY, Indianapolis (USA)

 


It’s election time

The Punjab government has awakened from its slumber in the fag end of its five-year term, as evidenced by the spurt in the developmental activity all over the state. Ironically, the representatives play with the sensibilities of the poor public for years and become concerned about their welfare only during the last months of their rule.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal’s public darbars during his last months of his rule typify the rot in the system. If the Assembly elections are held once in two or three years (instead of five years as at present), all the projects started will be executed in time and the government too will show results.

Dr SACHIN KAUSHAL, Amritsar

Road blockade

Road blockades in Haryana are becoming too frequent, causing immense inconvenience to people. Of late, villagers take to roads at the drop of a hat, thanks to the maturing of democracy at the grassroots. Be it the problem of electricity, water supply or even elopement of some village girl or disappearance a boy (at times stage-managed), the villagers fell trees and block the road for hours together.

When I was proceeding to Rohtak very recently, villagers of Machchhroli blocked NH 76 demanding electricity. I tried to reason with them to lift the blockade and allow me to go but in vain.

SUBHASH CHANDER SHARMA, Rewari
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