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Higher tax collections will offset duty cut losses: Jaswant

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, JAN. 25. The Union Finance Minister, Jaswant Singh, feels that the loss to the Central exchequer due to the series of pre-electoral concessions announced by the Government will be made up by higher revenue collection.

The growth in gross domestic product (GDP) is above eight per cent and the economy is booming which will lead to higher tax collections, offsetting the estimated revenue loss of Rs. 8,000 crores to Rs. 10,000 crores entailed in the recent announcements of duty cuts, the Minister said in a talk show on the DD News channel.

Mr. Singh denied that the doling out of largesse was linked to the coming general elections. The pre-budget announcements were made to give a clear signal to the people about the continued stability of the economy. He seemed unperturbed over the rise in the inflation rate and was confident that it was a seasonal phenomenon and would come down in the next few weeks.

Asked about his earlier stance that he was against populist measures and that he had even once offered to quit when party leaders pressed for such steps, Mr. Singh said: "My heart is the same. It has not undergone a transplant either. But political situations are never the same." On the "feel good factor," he felt it would not evaporate but sustain for a long time. "This feel good factor is not like getting up early in the morning, massaging the body and taking a long bath. It is stable and strong. It is on and it shall be on for a long time. None should have any doubt about it."

The blip on the stock exchange market too would not last long. There should be no cause for panic because the economic fundamentals were strong. "The sensex is undergoing a correction and will rise again, I am confident about it," he said.

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