New Delhi: Emphasising the need for a balancing act between infrastructure and welfare spending, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the BJP-led government is “pro-poor and pro-industry”.
The Minister, who presented Budget 2015-16 in Parliament today, said his challenge was to maintain balance between growth and keeping a check on fiscal deficit. “We are concerned about building infrastructure and maintaining growth rates.... Industry should grow fast... If I do not earn from the industries, how will I serve the poor?” he told Lok Sabha TV.
He added that there is “always a hollow debate” in the country on whether the government is pro-poor or pro-industry. “I am in favour of both... I don't think there is any conflict between the two. I believe both can walk together,” he said.
Talking about the various social schemes introduced by the Narendra Modi-led government, Jaitley said government cares for the poor.
“We have to keep money for that (social welfare) and we have to give funds to states as well. Its a balancing act. We had to build infrastructure and we had to take care of fiscal deficit as well,” he said.
On corporate tax reduction to 25 per cent from the current 30 per cent in the next four years, the Finance Minister said the move will boost investor confidence and make India more competitive with its ASEAN counterparts.
“Corporate tax has been slashed to attract investments not only global but domestic also,” he said, adding that South East Asian economies are strong competitors with lower tax rates.
The Minister said while the tax rate has been slashed, the government will also look at phasing out incentives in due course of time.
“We will have to start a programme of phasing out incentives. We want to make India's tax (rates) globally competitive,” he said.