There is no timeline to eliminate I-T exemptions: Nirmala Sitharaman

HYDERABAD: Finance minister said on Sunday the idea behind the introduction of the second alternative tax slabs sans is to take the country towards "a simplified, exemption-free and reduced rate of tax regime."

However, there was no deadline set by the government to eliminate all exemptions, he told reporters here after an interactive session with commercial and intellectual representatives on the budget.

"At the moment we only started a second alternative with some exemptions removed or some exemptions included, although the original intention was to remove all exemptions and give a clear simplified reduced rate of income tax ," the finance minister said.

The budget 2020-21 has introduced more tax slabs and offers higher limits provided the tax payer is ready to forego all the existing exemptions and deductions including home loan interest, other tax savings investments.

"We have not made up our minds as yet (on the removal of all exemptions)... We are trying step by step, move forward and no particular timeline given," she said when asked if there is any timeframe for removing all income tax exemptions.

At a post-budget press conference on February 1, Sitharaman had said that the government intended to eliminate all long-term I-T exemptions.

On Sunday, she said that based on a simulation and assumption, 69 per cent of tax payers would have benefitted and probably 11 per cent would have been "attracted" had the new tax regime been introduced last year.

When asked about the Supreme Court order on the payment of fees for telecommunications companies and the concerns expressed by some bankers, Sitharaman said it may not be appropriate for her to comment on the matter, as there is a Concern about it.

The Ministry in question is investigating it. Therefore, it may not be appropriate for me to comment, he added.

To a query on allegations by the Telangana government that there was a decline in devolution of funds to states from the Centre, she said the allocation is followed as per the recommendations of the Finance commissions and it is not true that the Centre is not cooperating with states.