March 16, 2017
Vivek Gupta speaks in Rajya Sabha on the Union Budget
Sir, a lot have been said about the Budget by my esteemed colleagues before me. Sir, through you, I want to point out to the Hon. FM a very glaring fact. Sir, in the name of various cess and surcharge, Rs 1.7 lakh crore is collected every year. Sir, this surcharge and cess is not shared with the States.
Sir, through you I would like to know from the Hon. FM, why this discrimination is done and why the States are deprived from their share of the revenue? Why this practice, Sir, of increasing the cess and surcharge? Sir, why not simply increase the tax rates so that the all States – we are sitting in the Council of States – will also get the share of that revenue.
Sir, particularly my State, we have done a rough calculation, is deprived of at least more than Rs 10,000 crore only on this account. That too at a time when there is a a lot of talk about fiscal autonomy and giving greater fiscal power to the States. Sir, I would request you to ensure that I get an answer from the FM.
Sir, moving on,enough has been said about demonetisation; I just want to leave them with some questions. Yesterday Indian Express reported that there is a 10% drop in advance tax collections. All along we have been told that the economy is doing well, the tax collection is going well. Yesterday, March 15, 2017, was the last date of advance tax payments; so there is some effect of demonetisation.
Sir, whenever you use your debit card or credit card, the petrol pumps are charging 2.5% surcharge. The Government of India charges of 15% service tax on this also. And during demonetisation, till December 31, 2016, 0.75% – that is roughly about this service tax amount – was coming back to us. So every time I am swiping my debit card or credit card at the petrol pump, I have to pay 2.5% surcharge. Sir I don’t understand why the government is penalising us for using credit cards while talking of less cash economy.
Sir, this Budget also failed to correct the increasing invasion into the finances of the States. Sir, recently in Bengal two officers were appointed specially by this Central Government just to look over the operations of our treasury. Sir, the Bengal Government is the only recipient of these officers. No other State in India got these officers. Through you, I want to ask why this special treatment was given to Bengal? What has Bengal done to deserve this?
Sir regarding Aadhaar, the government makes an announcement one day and the next day they withdraw the announcement. Now I wonder if the Aadhaar will be made mandatory to even enter the Parliament; probably that is the only thing left.
Sir, on black money enough has been said. I want to point out only one point. Sir 74 percent of the FDA that comes into India comes from three tax havens. These are figures that the government knows. Our Hon. Finance Minister very easily quotes in the press that ‘so many’ people go out abroad every year yet ‘so many’ people pay taxes. But Sir, people don’t even need to go abroad; just send the money abroad and get it back. Everybody knows this. The Panama Papers have been leaked, but Sir, no action has been taken on them. Domestic demonetisation is there, I wonder if there is any plan to do some foreign demonetisation on these people.
Sir, before I end my speech I just want to you speak about tax terrorism that continues. I just want to point out a few things. Probably the government has overlooked these facts. Sir there are 23 crore PAN card holders and only 4 crore file their returns. Sir, what steps has the Government taken to attack these 23 crore people who are not filing their returns? We would like to know the detailed answer from the Minister.
Sir, the PAN card is used more as a photo identity card; my request to you would be to request the Hon. Finance Minister to even put the addresses also on the PAN card. Then it would become a complete photo ID card which has address and photo both. A lot of these people sir have taken PAN cards only because it is the only ID accepted by banks. Although there is a list given by RBI where 18 documents are supposed to be accepted but no bank, no financial institution, no government offices accept these. The first thing they say is give me your PAN card. So, even a poor person with an income of less than Rs 1 lakh per annum has to go for a PAN card. Therefore, the government is feeling that there are so many income taxpayers who are not filing their returns.
It has been pointed out that some 1.8 lakh crore cases are pending in tax disputes. But whenever we get our orders that dues are adjusted, no details of those dues are available on the website. When we go to the Income Tax Department, files are lost. There is total anarchy. Through you, I would request some special trial be done to help these taxpayers.
Thank you, Sir.