Mid­dle class got ₹2 lakh-crore tax re­bate an­nu­ally dur­ing Modi regime, says Jait­ley

‘Taxes of most com­modi­ties brought down un­der GST’

The Hindu Business Line - - NEWS -

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley on Fri­day said the gov­ern­ment has given ₹2 lakh-crore tax ben­e­fit an­nu­ally to the mid­dle class with­out a sin­gle tax be­ing raised. This is a first by any gov­ern­ment in its five-year ten­ure, Jait­ley claimed in his blog post.

“The GST (Goods and Ser­vices Tax) is the sin­gle most im­por­tant ‘con­sumer friendly mea­sure’ in In­dia. Taxes of most com­modi­ties have been brought down. Com­modi­ties have been made cheaper, even though the rev­enue sac­ri­ficed now after the rates re­vi­sion, would be close to ₹1 lakh crore,” Jait­ley wrote.

After the in­tro­duc­tion of the GST on July 1, 2017, tax rates were low­ered on over 350 items and 66 types of ser­vices and now nearly 97.5 per cent goods at­tract GST rate ei­ther at 18 per cent or be­low. Just 28 goods are in the 28 per cent slab, the high­est tax rate.

On Di­rect Taxes (Per­sonal In­come Tax, Cor­po­rate Tax), Jait­ley Fi­nance Min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley

said that every Bud­get since 2014 gave some ben­e­fit — di­rectly or in­di­rectly. Even though the tax­a­tion slab is ₹2.5 lakh, those with an earn­ing upto ₹3 lakh need not pay any tax. A ₹40,000 stan­dard de­duc­tion has been given to all em­ploy­ees. Sim­i­larly, all in­vest­ments in hous­ing, in­sur­ance and other sav­ings in­stru­ments, have been in­creased in the last four years.

“The cost of this to the ex­che­quer is al­most ₹97,000 crore per an­num,” he said.

Hous­ing sub­sidy

List­ing the var­i­ous other mea­sures, he said the sub­sidy for hous­ing for the mid­dle class has been lib­er­alised. The gov­ern­ment staff has ben­e­fited from the speedy im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Sev­enth Pay Com­mis­sion, the Ser­vices have ben­e­fited from the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the OROP, the pen­sion­ers have ben­e­fited by the New Pen­sion Scheme. The gov­ern­ment con­tri­bu­tion is be­ing in­creased from 10 per cent to 14 per cent and greater part of re­bate be­ing given to the en­tire amount of 60 per cent which can be with­drawn at the time of su­per­an­nu­a­tion.

Amidst all these, an­other im­por­tant good news has been lower in­fla­tion. “In­fla­tion dur­ing the five-year ten­ure has been kept be­tween 3 and 4 per cent as against 10.4 per cent dur­ing UPA-II,” he said.

High­light­ing the im­por­tance of the re­cently ap­proved 124th amend­ment in the Con­sti­tu­tion, the Min­is­ter said that the Prime Min­is­ter’s de­ci­sion to force an agenda for poverty based reser­va­tion is the sin­gle great­est recog­ni­tion/ con­cern for poor across the gen­eral cat­e­gories and the need to elim­i­nate poverty.

“The prin­ci­pal Op­po­si­tion party showed only lip sym­pa­thy for the mea­sure and grudg­ingly sup­ported it while pok­ing holes in the same,” he blamed.

He ex­plained that the orig­i­nal Con­sti­tu­tion (un­a­mended) in its Pream­ble men­tions Equal­ity of Op­por­tu­nity and Jus­tice for all whether po­lit­i­cal, so­cial or eco­nomic to be en­sured by the State. The Pream­ble ex­presses the in­tent of the Con­sti­tu­tion framers. It is an aid to the in­ter­pre­ta­tion of what con­sti­tutes the ba­sic struc­ture. Nor does the carve out amongst the gen­eral non­re­served cat­e­gories for 10 per cent of their poor in any way get re­stricted by the 50 per cent reser­va­tion em­bargo placed by the Supreme Court. In the In­dra Sawh­ney case, the Supreme Court had cat­e­gor­i­cally men­tioned that 50 per­cent cri­te­ria ap­plies only to the caste- based reser­va­tions en­vis­aged in Ar­ti­cle 16(4) of the Con­sti­tu­tion, he clar­i­fied.

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