New taxation proposals amounting to Rs 282 crore and some welcome relief measures are the highlights of the Union Budget for 1980-81 presented to the Lok Sabha by the finance minister, R Venkataraman. The incidence of taxation will be spread thinly over almost all excisable commodities and all sections of the population as the major chunk of the additional taxation is to be collected by doubling the all-encompassing special excise duty. This alone will bring the government Rs 197 crore. The finance minister informed an applauding Lok Sabha that he was leaving a deficit of Rs 1417 crore uncovered and that this would not have a “significantly adverse impact” on the economy.
R Venkataraman has limited additional taxation efforts to Rs 282 crore mainly because the task of resource mobilisation has already been achieved earlier this month. The petrol price hike has given the government an additional Rs 2400 crore while the upward revision in the rail freight and passenger fares would bring in another Rs 204.24 crore. Armed with this fait accompli, the finance minister has spread his official taxation effort rather thinly, making use of the special excise duty levied for the first time in the mid-Seventies.
Troops were airlifted to the Kamui hills areas of Tripura near Mizoram as posters appeared at Kalyanpur serving an ultimatum on Bengalis to quit Tripura by June 26 or face “dire consequences”. A high-level team of civil, military and police officers headed by the Tripura chief secretary flew into the area in an IAF helicopter to supervise the security arrangements in the wake of the quit notice. The district authorities have been instructed to take stern measures against anyone trying to take the law into his own hands. Security measures are being tightened in the areas and fresh reinforcement of army and paramilitary forces are being rushed in.