FM spreads the tax net far and wide

Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has cast the tax net far wider to cover 10 new services with 10 per cent tax levy. He has also extended the scope of 58 services already under this tax net. This tax is ultimately to be paid by the consumers, not the service providers who charge 10 per cent from the consumers. This is an indirect tax which the latter will have to pay silently.

Cut in customs and excise duties on crude oil and petroleum products will not help the consumers. A road development cess of 50 paise a litre has been imposed on petrol and diesel. By reducing the excise and import duties, the benefits should be passed on to the consumers. Instead, it will be used for containing the losses of the oil companies. Thus, who will get benefit? It is the oil companies and not the consumers.

What about curtailing government expenditure? Mr Chidambaram has raised the budget for various ministries including the Prime Minister’s Office. The recovery of non-performing assets (NPAs) of banks totalling about Rs 3, 00,000 crores seems to have escaped his attention. The Budget is also silent on FDI, probably due to the pressure of the Left.

Lowering of corporate tax from 35 to 30 per cent is another area where the rich would be benefited. The Budget pegs the growth rate at 6.9 per cent. Last year, the budget expected an 8 per cent growth but it remained at 6.5 per cent of GDP.

S.K. KHOSLA, Chandigarh




Instead of relief, the tax liability of senior citizens will increase. Let us examine a typical case of a pensioner-senior citizen having an annual income of Rs 2 lakh. Under the existing rates, after standard deduction of Rs 30, 000, Rs 12, 000 under Section 80L and IT exemption of Rs 50, 000, he pays a net tax of Rs 1600 (21,600–20,000 rebates under Section 88B).

Under the proposed rates, after deducting IT exemption of Rs 1,50,000, he pays a net tax of Rs 10,000. Thus, he would lose Rs 8,400. Justice demands the IT exemption limit for senior citizens is raised to Rs 2 lakh instead of the proposed Rs 1.50 lakh.

Wg-Cdr C.L. SEHGAL (retd),

Jalandhar Poll violence

Violence during elections in India is not new. Earlier politics was considered social service, but today it is treated as an instrument to gain power and make money. For the violence during Ajnala by-election recently, both Shiromani Akali Dal and Congress leaders blamed each other even though both are guilty for the same.

The incident reflects how power hungry the political parties are. The attitude of the police was also shocking.


Kaif’s exclusion

Leaving Mohammed Kaif out of the Indian team for the India-Pakistan Test series is shocking. Of what use are the pre-selection matches if the cricketer’s form is not taken into account for selection? Kaif had performed excellently in the pre-selection matches.


Dashmesh Academy

While emphasising the need for removing illiteracy, the Punjab government is closing down Sir Dasmesh Academy, Anandpur Sabib, on grounds of paucity of funds. It is really shameful.

Punjab is considered a rich state. I am sure, industrialists and NRIs from the state will be happy to contribute to raise the required funds. It is not a question of the future of a few children and staff. It is the moral duty of Punjabis to step in and spread education. The Punjab government should raise funds from appropriate sources.


Mature voters of Haryana

The election results in Haryana are not surprising. The voters have clearly shown their resentment against the Om Parkash Chautala government. The average voter today is educated and aware of the happenings around him/her. So, the voters would prefer performance-oriented leaders, not corrupt leaders or those who are power hungry and arrogant.

The Chautala government undertook a lot of development works but it neglected several other areas. The Congress has to ensure that it does not repeat the mistakes made by the Chautala government. One of the biggest challenges will be to explore a peaceful solution of the SYL canal issue.

RANDEEP MAHAL, Yamunanagar


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