Government seeks to engage itself with businesses, industries: Nirmala Sitharaman

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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday said that the government wants continuous engagement with industries and businesses and will act as a facilitator for hassle-free payments of taxes.

She was interacting with the members of trade and industries here, a week after presenting the Union Budget for 2020-21 in Parliament on February 1.

“The broad message which is apparent is that the government wants continuous engagement with industry and business. And my presence here is not in response to what is happening inside (country) and outside,” Ms. Sitharaman said.

She said the Centre has introduced some features in the budget like “faceless appeals and sorting out of problems while imparting tax administration”.

Ms. Sitharaman said this will be made possible only with the help of new technology.

“Over the years, we had to remove all the dead wood gathered with a pincer. This will help the government to fulfill its commitments made in the budget,” she said.

Referring to issues relating to GST, the finance minister said it is not the Centre to initiate steps for reduction of rates, the State ministers should also represent cases so that a synergy could be built.

ATMs

Responding to Tea Board chairman PK Bezbaruah’s remarks on the scarcity of ATMs in the tea belts of Assam and West Bengal for which “cashless wage payments are becoming a problem”, the finance minister said the government is willing to set up ATMs in pockets where there are none.

“I know that number of ATMs is minuscule in the tea growing regions. The government is ready to set up such facilities in these areas,” she said.

Finance secretary Rajiv Kumar said that “there is a need for credit offtake to pick up for genuine businesses”.

“Commercial lending has to go up. The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has already appointed a committee to differentiate between genuine business failure and a fraud,” he added.

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