Millennium Post

No Govt in India can oppose very idea of subsidies: FM

Addressing students and faculty at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs here, he, however, did not elaborate on what the government plans to do and when. Jaitley also spoke on the additional 2 per cent surcharge on the super rich and the proposal to reduce the corporate tax from 30 to 25 per cent in phases along with elimination of exemptions.

“No government in India can be against the very idea of subsidies but there has to be some element of rationalisation. There are many people who are entitled to be subsidised and we will continue to subsidise them. But there have to be exclusions and we have started with areas which are comfortable,” he said.

“In the budget I have appealed to people who are in a higher category of tax paying classes to voluntarily relinquish their subsidies. This is the first step towards the next round of action which the government may consider,” he added. Harris, the nominee for US’ Pacific Command, said that his country has been seeing an increased Chinese submarine presence in the Indian Ocean. That itself is not a bad thing, he noted, adding that China has the right to operate in international waters and the Indian Ocean, just like India has the right to operate in the international waters in South China Sea.

“I am concerned about what the Chinese are doing more in the South China Sea than the Indian Ocean because they are doing positive things out here,” he said. Asked if the US shares India’s concerns about the lack of clarity in China’s strategic intent behind its forays into the Indian Ocean, the Admiral said, “I share your concerns with China’s lack of transparency in general. Not just in waters adjacent to India but in general.”

He said that one should recognise that a strong and prosperous China that recognises and follows international norms is good for everyone. “I think personally that a strong relationship between India and China is helpful just like a strong relationship between the US and China,” he said.

Harris said the relationship between the US and India and the ties between the Indian and the US navies are also not about China. “The relationship between our countries also stands on its own and it is to our mutual benefit that we improve that,” he said.

He stressed on the need to increase the naval exercises between the two countries and said it would be nice if there are more trilateral and multi-lateral exercises involving the US, India, Japan and Australia.

Meanwhile, talking about the three “foundational” military agreements that the US wants India to sign, he said they are “important ones”. India had earlier refused to sign the three agreements, but the US has been pushing for bringing them into force.

Of these, the Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geospatial Cooperation (BECA) enhance the capacity of military equipment already bought from the US.
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