Modi steps in, EPF tax move may be de­ferred

BUD­GET PRO­POSAL FM Arun Jait­ley ex­pected to clar­ify stand on Tues­day

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Shishir Gupta and Gau­rav Choud­hury let­ters@hin­dus­tan­ SONU ME­HTA/ HT

A con­tro­ver­sial bud­get pro­posal to tax prov­i­dent fund with­drawals may be de­ferred, with Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi ask­ing for wider con­sul­ta­tions on the move that has turned into a political hot potato.

The de­fer­ment, not a roll­back, is likely given that Modi is sen­si­tive to the salaried class, top govern­ment sources told Hin­dus­tan Times, sig­nal­ing some pos­si­ble re­lief for a core sup­port base of the Prime Min­is­ter. The pro­posal is to come into ef­fect from April 1.

The sources said the Prime Min­is­ter had stud­ied the rep­re­sen­ta­tions — made to the govern­ment — that had sought a roll­back of the tax.

“The Prime Min­is­ter … has asked the fi­nance min­is­ter to re­visit the amend­ments to the Fi­nance Act and ex­plore all op­tions so that the middle-class In­di­ans can prop­erly in­vest their sav­ings,” said a top govern­ment source.

Fi­nance min­is­ter Ar un Jait­ley is likely to clar­ify on the is­sue in Par­lia­ment on Tues­day, sources said.

The govern­ment is un­der pres­sure from not only the Op­po­si­tion and labour unions but also some of its al­lies and the RSS-af­fil­i­ated Bharatiya Maz­door Sangh which has slammed the tax pro­posal as “dis­gust­ing”.

A de­ci­sion to put off the tax roll­out would give the Congress and other op­po­si­tion par­ties a ral­ly­ing point to claim vic­tory dur­ing the Par­lia­ment’s on­go­ing bud­get ses­sion.

Prez Pranab Mukher­jee (left) and PM Naren­dra Modi at the in­au­gu­ral ses­sion of the Na­tional Con­fer­ence of Women Leg­is­la­tors in New Delhi on Satur­day.

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