India's govt. reduces tax, pledges to boost rural economy

Economic IndicatorsAssociated Press

India's finance minister has pledged relief for middle class taxpayers and small and medium-sized companies while planning billions of dollars in spending to double farmers' incomes over the next five years and improve the country's ramshackle infrastructure and provide cheap homes to people.

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitely, in presenting the budget for the fiscal year starting April 1 in Parliament on Wednesday, said the Indian economy was doing well despite slowing growth in other emerging economies. He projected economic growth of between 6.75 and 7.5 percent in 2017-18.

Since coming to power in May 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government has been pumping funds into boosting education, while increasing spending on roads, irrigation and other infrastructure. It has also been reforming India's complicated tax regime.