July 22, 2019
Durga Pujas cannot be under purview of income tax: Mamata Banerjee
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today chaired a meeting with the members of the zilla parishads of different districts at Nabanna Sabhaghar. There are around 825 zilla parishad members, 9,217 panchayat samiti members and 48,649 gram sabha members,.
While speaking to the media after the meeting, she said they work tirelessly for the people but are paid little. To change this situation, Mamata Banerjee announced the increase of their remunerations. She pointed out that this will increase the expense of the Government by around Rs 220-225 crore.
She also said steps are being taken to imrpove public relations. She said she had instructed the members present at the meeting to keep in touch with the local people and keep a fixed time of two hours every week for meeting them.
She said the BJP is doing politics of vengeance and divisiveness. They create divisions on the basis of religions, and between Bengalis and non-Bengalis during elections. When elections are over, they threaten Durga Puja organisers with getting them investigated by agencies. She said the BJP must learn first to win the hearts of the people as they cannot be captured like EVM machines.
The four days of Durga Puja as celebrated here is a wonder to the people of the world. Many Puja committees get money from corporate funds which enable the former to get income tax relief. She questioned why should the Puja committees not receive relief from income tax as the funding of these Pujas are done through sponsorships and donations.
Millions of people earn their livelihoods through the Durga Pujas, she pointed out. She said if Puja committees are taxed, it will be an insult to the Puja. Last year, Rs 10,000 was given to some Puja committees from the Community Development Funds, she said.
She said it is wrong both to campaign for elections by raising the issue of Hindutva and to raise income tax from the organisers of the biggest and the holiest festival of the Hindus, Durga Puja.