Union Budget 2003: Industry expects dividend tax scrapping

Pune: Though a cross-section of Pune industry, economists and finance managers is sure about Finance Minister Jaswant Singh not taking any radical steps while presenting Union Budget 2003-4, most of them expect certain concessions by way of removal of the dividend tax and reduction in corporate and capital gain taxes.

Participating in a discussion on ‘Budget 2003: Pragmatic or Populist?’ Pune Stock Exchange director Manish Rangari said the industry has been pressing for the removal of the dividend tax. Even as Singh is unlikely to go for any radical changes for the mutual fund sector, Rangari wished the government decide on the huge pension fund it has been sitting on. The discussion was part of the ‘Power Breakfast’ series organised by Capital Images Public Relations (CIPR).

The finance minister needs to send the right signals to all — the indigenous and foreign investor, the states going to the polls soon and the people as the general election is to follow, said CIPR managing director Sanjay Jha. He wondered whether any of the political parties could display enough will to accept in toto the Kelkar committee report on tax reforms. Head of University of Pune’s department of economics Dr Dhanmanjiri Sathe said the budget would show the “feel good” factor.

The meeting underlined the need to bring the agriculture income in the tax net on priority but felt that this would not happen until the parliament is dominated by MPs having direct links with the rural sector.