Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that she is sensitive about the pressures faced by the middle class, as she too is from the same class of society.
Speaking during the function organised by RSS mouthpiece Panchjanya to mark the publication’s 75th year on Sunday, the finance minister said that being from the middle class herself, she was aware of the pressures on it and therefore the government has not imposed any fresh taxes on them.
“The Modi government has not levied any new tax on the middle class in any budget so far. No tax has been imposed on people who earn up to Rs 5 lakhs,” Sitharaman said during the event.
Her comments have come just days before she is scheduled to present the Union Budget for 2023-24 on February 1.
Responding to a question on freebies during an interactive session, the finance minister said that everybody tries to trap each other on this issue.
“People try to trap each other by talking about freebies. The issue is not that what is a freebie? Issue is whether you will be able to give that freebie or not,” she said.
If anybody claims to give freebies, then they must show it in the budget, and they should get the budget scrutinised at the end of the year, the finance minister said further, adding that if the budget or the accounts are found to be clean, then that expense cannot be termed as a freebie.
Launching an attack on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) over freebies, Sitharaman said that the Delhi government gives free power to citizens up to a certain limit.
She added that many states give freebies to people, but don’t show them in their budgets.
“They just leave it to Modi ji to manage what they had spent. If you had sought votes in the name of freebies, then why does the Centre have to manage the burden?” she questioned.