Sitharaman says LIC IPO to benefit retail investors

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Mumbai, Feb 7 (IANS) Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said the IPO of the state insurer LIC will bring retail investors into the picture and that the government would come up with steps to simplify the tax regimes.
“We are looking at an IPO for LIC which will bring retail investors in the picture”, she said, at an interaction with the industry, media and academia here today on Union Budget 2020-2021.
In the Budget, the government announced its decision to list LIC in the next fiscal with the aim of bringing the much-needed revenues to the government which is facing a shortfall due to poor tax collections.
“We are coming up with steps to simplify the tax regime. We have shown our intent to move towards a simplified tax regime and corporate tax simplification and reduction is a move towards that. The taxpayer charter (as announced in the Budget) is based on trust that should be there between the taxation regime and tax payers”, Sitharaman said.
In the Budget speech, Sitharaman, noting that the government has launched Rs 103 lakh crore of infra projects, announced providing about Rs 1.70 lakh crore for transport infrastructure and accelerating highways construction to augment India’s infrastructure and create jobs.
She said focus is on infrastructure for economic development and 6,500 projects across sectors under the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) envisions ease of living for citizens.AAA
About Rs 22,000 crore has already been provided as a support to the NIP.
Sitharaman also told the industry that the government is engaged with states and private investors to come up with an infra pipeline comprising over Rs 6,000 crore projects.
The minister also said that the government will take steps so that civil offences are not treated as criminal offences and government looks forward to invest in infrastructure creation.
Sitharaman said the Budget aims to provide a “discreet and considered stimulus” to the economy, and draws on the experiences of all the past instances of slowdown in growth where the government intervened to give a boost.
“Based on the experiences in the past, we have essentially ensured that we are doing it in a very discreet and considered manner,” she said, addressing disappointment in some sectors that the Budget lacked any major announcements at a time when growth has slipped to its lowest in a decade.
Sitharaman said the government has kept in mind macro-economic fundamentals to ensure that the required stimulus, both for boosting consumption and for investments in long-term asset building, as a means to providing the impetus would be taken up.
She cited the instances of the 16-point agenda for the rural and farm sectors, the boost to start-ups and infrastructure investments.
Unlike in the past, the minister said the remedies in the Budget 2020 are “very focused and very clear, that things are traversing a well-chalked out path, and intentions of spending responsibly to build capital assets”.
Sitharaman said the government would sell only those companies where there is no strategic rationale in running them, while divestment were necessary to ensure transparency in working of companies by making the required disclosures.

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