NEW DELHI: If the government used taxes better, more people would be willing to pay up, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told top economists and experts at a meeting at NITI Aayog today amid suggestions that tax rates should be lowered. “Prime Minister Modi said that it is not as if people don’t want to pay taxes. They want the proceeds to be used well. Say, build a hospital where they can take their family,” Arvind Panagariya, vice chairman of NITI Aayog – the government’s policy commission, told reporters after a meeting where the Prime Minister interacted with economists and experts from various fields. Mr Panagariya said there were “many suggestions from experts on lowering the tax rates” while discussing suggestions for next year’s Union Budget. In comments that came just over a month before the Union Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday had also said that the country needs to have a lower tax regime to be globally competitive. The presentation of the Budget for 2017-18 has been advanced to February 1 this time. Explaining the rationale for advancing the Budget by almost a month, PM Modi said it will help the real economy. “The date of Budget presentation is being advanced, so that expenditure is authorised by the time the new financial year begins,” the Prime Minister said. During the two-hour meeting, the Prime Minister called for innovative approaches in skill development and tourism and also stressed the need for greater cooperation among different branches of the government. Responding to the PM’s call for suggestions for the Budget, attending economists gave their suggestions in the sectors of agriculture, skill development and job creation, taxation, education, digital technology, housing, tourism, banking, governance reform, data analysis for growth.