Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Making new tax regime default option grossly unfair: PC

Congress leader P Chidambaram on Wednesday claimed that the Union Budget has “betrayed” the hopes of a vast majority of Indians and shows how far removed the government is from the people and their concerns about life, livelihood and the growing inequality between the rich and the poor.
At a press conference at the AICC headquarters here, the former finance minister termed the budget as “callous” and said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has not mentioned the words unemployment, poverty, inequality or equity anywhere in her Budget speech
“Let me begin by pointing out, with regret, that the FM has not mentioned the words unemployment, poverty, inequality or equity anywhere in her speech. Mercifully, she has mentioned the word poor twice in her speech. I am sure the people of India will take note of who are in the concerns of the government and who are not,” Chidambaram said. He stressed that no taxes have been reduced except for the small number who have opted for the new tax regime.
“No indirect taxes have been reduced. There is no cut in the cruel and irrational GST rates. There is no reduction in the prices of petrol, diesel, cement, fertilizers etc. There is no cut in the numerous surcharges and cesses which are, anyway, not shared with the state governments,” Chidambaram said.
Chidambaram alleged that “The government is also determined to push the ‘new’ tax regime for which there are few takers for a variety of reasons. “Besides, making the new tax regime the default option is grossly unfair and will rob the ordinary tax payer of the meagre social security that he may get under the old tax regime,” the Congress leader said.
This is a “callous” Budget that has betrayed the hopes of vast majority of people, he added.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who has been accusing PM Modi of making policies to benefit his “friends”, slammed the government, claiming the ‘mitra kaal’ budget has no vision to create jobs or tackle inflation.
“Mitr Kaal’ Budget has: NO vision to create Jobs. NO plan to tackle Mehngai. NO intent to stem Inequality. 1% richest own 40% of the wealth, 50% poorest pay 64% of GST, 42% youth are unemployed — yet, PM doesn’t Care!” Gandhi said in a tweet. “This Budget proves Govt has NO roadmap to build India’s future,” he said.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge alleged the budget was “big on announcements and short on delivery”, and accused BJP government of making the life of common man difficult.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said the Budget will deprive the poor. “It is not futuristic, totally opportunistic, anti-people and anti-poor… It has been prepared with an eye on the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.”
CPI(M) said the Union budget was “contractionary” and “anti-people”.CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the relation between the Centre and states are going to get further strained and that fiscal federalism is now under “severe attack”.
Other regional parties such as the DMK and the Shiv Sena faction headed by Uddhav Thackeray termed the budget disappointing and accused the Centre of taking away states’ resources.

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