Finance Minister R Venkataraman won the hearts of the middle class and the industry by presenting a savings and growth-oriented Budget containing taxation measures of only Rs 271 crore. He sacrificed Rs 115 crore in revenue to free some 14-lakh people from the middle class from income tax burdens. Most of the additional revenue will come from a 5 per cent increase in customs duty on all imported goods and a 15 per cent duty on newsprint. He announced an increase in interest rates on long-term savings. The LIC was reorganised and split into five bodies with a coordinating agency at the helm.
Money For Defence
The nation will be spending Rs 400-crore more on defence in the coming financial year. In simple terms, it means that defence will account for 17 paisa for every rupee spent by the government. The Army, as usual, will corner the major share of defence spending. Next comes the air force. The Navy’s share of the Rs 4,200 crore defence budget will be Rs 300 crore.
Manipur has come under President’s Rule and the state assembly has been placed under suspended animation. The President issued a proclamation under Article 356 of the Constitution following a recommendation by the Union cabinet.
Scuffle At Meet
The succession struggle for the Congress presidency between Jagjivan Ram and Sharad Pawar erupted into scuffles between the followers of the two leaders and threatened to break up the AICC meeting in Delhi. The scuffles were over the controversial question of the venue of the Party’s plenary session that will elect a new President in May. The confusion that dominated the concluding part of the two-day session ended only when the party president Devaraj Urs threatened to resign if the members did not calm down.