Corporate India, in its first direct interaction with new finance minister Arun Jaitley, on Friday made a strong pitch for a more business-friendly tax regime and bold economic reforms in the upcoming union budget to revive investor sentiment and promote growth.
Participating in the customary pre-budget meeting in New Delhi which lasted over two hours, captains of Indian industry wanted Jaitley to address the vexed issued of the retrospective tax on overseas transactions brought about by the previous United Progressive Alliance, which has been slammed by global investors in India.
While seeking the usual plethora of tax concessions to revive industry, the business leaders also urged the government to expedite the introduction of the long-awaited goods and services tax (GST), meant to replace a plethora of central and state duties, and implement the Direct Tax Code (DTC).
"Government should make earnest efforts to move away from the aggressive revenue approach and provide a genuine non-adversarial and conducive tax environment," said Sidharth Birla, president of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, Jaitley said, "It was a constructive meeting with India Inc. They presented their wish-list."
Confederation of Indian Industries president Ajay Shiram in his presentation pressed for an amendment of the Income tax act to reverse the 'retrospective' amendment and make all taxation prospective.
"A simple, transparent and non-adversarial tax regime bereft of complexities and ambiguities would go a long way to strengthen business sentiment and restore faith of the foreign investor in the India growth story," Shiram said.
Among others at the meeting were Assocham President Rana Kapoor, PHD President Sharad Jaipuria, Bharti Enterprises chairman Sunil Mittal, Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Essar Group's Shashi Ruia, Suzlon Group chairman Tulsi Tanti, and Videocon group chief V N Dhoot.