Govt putting country into fiscal trap: BJP

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New Delhi, Apr 30 (UNI) The BJP today charged the UPA government with pushing the country into a 'fiscal trap' and demanded reform of the Planning Commission, simplification of tax laws and revocation of the Banking Cash Transaction tax to improve the country's economy and help the citizens.

Participating in the debate on the Finance Bill 2008-09, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh said the country was moving into a fiscal trap due to high expenditure on agriculture and food subsidy, bank loan waiver of farmers, funds for implementation the sixth pay commission and rising oil prices and oil bonds.

He said that 'food inflation' of the worst kind was looming large over the country along with the 'fertilizer famine.' This would adversely impact the country and poor people, he asserted and demanded that the government show fiscal prudence and take steps to prevent them.

Emphasising that the complicated income tax and wealth tax laws were benefitting the tax lawyers at a huge cost to the common citizens, he said they need to be simplified. He also questioned the need for taxing people withdrawing money from Bank as it needlessly complicated the system, putting a 'weapon' in the hands of the authority.

However, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the cash transaction tax had benefitted in identifying the people withdrawing huge amount of money from banks and putting it into a parallel system which used this unaccounted money for nefarious and illegal activities. He said that through this tax, 12 huge money launderers were identified and action taken against them.

On this, senior BJP leader Arun Shourie said due to computerisation, the information was available with the authorities and there was no way that additional information could be achieved through taxing people.

The Finance Minister said that while imposing the tax last year he had assured that once the instruments were put in place this tax would be withdrawn and now with the Money Laundering Bill being in place, he was looking into it.

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