Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said the government is open to further reforms for making India a more attractive investment destination.
The government has taken various steps, including reduction of corporate tax, she said at India-Sweden Business Summit here. “I only can invite and assure that the Government of India is committed for further reforms in various sectors whether it is banking, mining or insurance and so on,” she said.
She invited Swedish firms to invest in infrastructure development projects.
India plans to invest about Rs 100 lakh crore in infrastructure sector in the next five years.
Sitharaman on Monday had said that she took suggestions from lawmakers to reduce personal income tax rates and it would be considered for its merit, The Times of India reported. The finance minister said she would not cut it to bring parity with the Centre’s decision to reduce corporate tax.
The finance minister’s comments about personal income tax rates came in response to a question from Trinamool Congress member Saugata Roy during a discussion on Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019, in the Lok Sabha.
“It is very different to compare developed countries and developing countries and emerging economies and then say they have income tax reduction and therefore you should give,” Sitharaman said, adding that the Centre has periodically given several exemptions to individual taxpayers.
“Now, because we want more investments to come into this country, we have given it to all companies under the Companies Act to bring in a parity of sorts and to say personal income tax…I would rather deal with personal income tax on its own rather than because I have done this, I should do that,” Sitharaman said.
She said people who earned their living, paid their taxes and took care of businesses were valued by the government. “So, personal income tax will be considered for its merit,” Sitharaman said.
As Roy persisted with his demand for the personal tax cut, the finance minister said: “I have taken it as a suggestion”.
The Centre had in September reduced the corporate tax rate for companies that do not avail of any other incentive from 35% to 22% to boost the economy.
A government committee on direct tax had also previously recommended relief for taxpayers to put more money in the hands of the common man for a consumption-led revival of the economy. Sitharaman had earlier said the government was examining the report.