Union minister Piyush Goyal on Friday said the reduction in corporate tax rate would give a “necessary fillip to the economy”, and was “probably the largest” of all stimulus measures announced by the government in recent weeks.
The railway minister was speaking at the annual convention of Indo-American Chamber of Commerce in Mumbai. Minutes before, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had addressed a press conference in Panaji to announce reductions in corporate tax rates for domestic companies and new manufacturing firms in a fresh bid to boost economic growth.
Domestic companies will now have an option to pay 22% tax, provided they do not avail of other incentives or exemptions. New domestic manufacturing companies can pay 15% corporate tax with the same condition, if they are incorporated on or after October 1, 2019, and start production no later than March 31, 2023. The government will forgo a revenue of Rs 1.45 lakh crore per year, Sitharaman said.
Goyal said the measures would benefit companies such as Coal India, Infosys and Wipro. He congratulated Sitharaman and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the “pathbreaking announcement”, which, he said, would boost the Make in India campaign, promote investment and create jobs.
Congress MP Jairam Ramesh pointed out that the announcements came less than three months after Sitharaman presented a Union Budget and four months before the next one. He said the tax cuts were welcome but “it is doubtful whether investment will revive”. “This does nothing to dispel fear that pervades in India Inc,” he said, adding that the Modi government was “headline-itis afflicted [and] panic-stricken”.
Ramesh said the timing of the changes was dictated by Modi’s upcoming visit to the United States, where he will address an event called “Howdy Modi” in Texas on Sunday. Ramesh tweeted: “PM can now say, ‘I have come to Texas promising lower Taxes’.”
Meanwhile, Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das welcomed the government’s move and said it was a bold step and highly positive for the economy, PTI reported.