The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Yawning gaps

benches in Lok Sabha had wide missing gaps, showing the kind of interest lower house members have in the annual budget ritual. However, the gallery in Lok Sabha meant for Rajya Sabha MPs was spilling over with the elders taking copious notes of everything.The Left had posted at least three MPs including CPM's Nilotpal Basu and RSP's Abani Roy, both of whom came out almost immediately after the budget to get across their party's views on the budget. Shiv Sena's Pritish Nandy was also there listening in hard, maybe for the TV shows which he comes on.

Igniting dissent

jan Dasmushi trying to score brownie points by trying to set BJP leaders against Jaswant Singh. When Singh was talking about the nation-wide VAT which will come into effect from April 1, Dasmunshi pointed out that it was MadanLal Khurana, former BJP minister from Delhi who was busy spiking this by leading strikes against it. This led to a very worried Khurana jumping up to protest it was all Congress Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit's fault. The Bengal Congress MP also tried to set labour minister Sahib Singh Verma against Singh by pointing out that he had promised to freeze interest rates on GPF, something which the finance minister was cutting by 1 per cent. A dazed Verma didn't even know how to react.

Kid gloves

ment has for the first time decided to offer a tax break for educating children which works out to Rs 12,000 per year per child. The benefit granted under section 88 will be limited to two children. One caveat here: the tax deduction will have to be within the overall ceiling of Rs 70,000 provided for deductions under this section.The tax rebate will cover tuition fees paid whether at the time of admission or thereafter to any university, college, school or other educational institution situated within India. However, the rebate will not cover any development fees or donations or payment of a similar nature.

Grog-filled days

rejoice: the customs duty on liquor has been scaled back from 182 per cent to 166 per cent, in line with the WTO bound rate. It's still a far cry from the import duty rates in Asean nations but we might get there eventually.

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