Q. How do you see the new government's first budget?
Finance secretary Arvind Mayaram: It's growth-oriented. There's a special focus on industry, including manufacturing and textile. On the energy front, especially coal, there is special focus. Defence allocation has gone up from the interim budget. He has accepted the challenge of maintaining fiscal deficit at 4.1 %. A lot of new measures on agriculture will ensure flow of capital to the sector.
Q. The government has increased FDI limit in various sectors. How much do you think the government is going to rake in?
Mayaram: You would have heard that the FM said we need to create a cycle of investment. These investments have to come across sectors... I would not venture into the quantum of investment, but it will be higher last year's.
Q. The budget pegs fiscal deficit at 4.1% of the GDP. Could you elaborate the math behind this?
Mayaram: While we are giving away Rs 22,200 crore on the back of direct tax exemptions, on the non-tax side, we have made provisions for getting Rs 31,752 crore. Another Rs 7,455 crore will be raked through indirect taxes. We have reoriented some schemes and generated about Rs 10,000 crore. In all, we have created a fiscal space of Rs 10,000 crore.
Q. Jaitley has mentioned about fiscal consolidation. What's the update?
Mayaram: Banking Secretary G S Sandhu: We have got 27 proposals.
Q. FDI in defence has not attracted much investments earlier. What make the government so bullish?
Mayaram: We should not look at FDI independently. You have to look at the enabling policies as well. The government has recently reduced the list of items requiring licences.
Q. What's the government's stand on retro tax?
Mayaram: A committee will review all fresh cases. The government will not ordinarily undertake any tax legislation retrospectively. The FM said even though this is the sovereign right of the government, it will keep in mind investor investment. Current cases will not be affected.
Q. Will tax notice be sent to Vodafone?
Mayaram: I will just read out what the finance minister said. "These cases are at different stages of pendency and will naturally reach their logical conclusion."