Arun Jaitley against burdening salaried, middle class

New Delhi, Nov 22: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said that he does not favour burdening the salaried and middle-class with more taxes but would go after the evaders in widening the net.

In fact, he would encourage more money being put in the pockets of tax payers that will lead to spending and collection of more indirect taxes.


"This widening of the tax base. What does it mean? ...I pay the same indirect tax as my attendant. Our volume of consumption may be different. So everybody is paying indirect taxes.

"And literally almost half your taxes are indirect taxes today. He pays excise, he pays customs duty, he pays service tax. Now as far as income tax is concerned, to bring those who evade tax is widening the tax net, I am all for it," the Minister said in an interaction with PTI journalists at PTI headquarters.

He was replying to a question on whether his budget would look at widening the tax base to maximise revenue. Jaitley, who will be presenting his first full fledged budget in February, said that in his last budget he had increased the tax exemption limit from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh and would even raise it further if he had more money. 

On another question relating to difficulties in getting black money from abroad, a promise of which was made by BJP during elections, Jaitley said there is a settled procedure and government has to go by that settled process.

"The world today is uniting to unearth these unauthorised transactions. Conventionally they were against crime money and not tax evaded money.

"Today even tax evaded money, which flies from one part of the world to another, there is exchange of information. And then if you are able to prove that it's contrary to law they give you the supporting evidence. You have to go through that procedure. There is no other short cut," he said.

The Minister parried a question about the possibility of an amnesty scheme to unearth black money, both within and outside the country.

"Every institution in this matter has to realise its responsibilities," he said without elaborating.

To a question on the Congress criticism of the relaunching of the Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) in which even narco terrorism money can be laundered, Jaitley dismissed such fears saying there are adequate safeguards built in it.

He said the Congress gave its reaction without reading the notification on the KVP scheme and there cannot be a debate on "ill-informed or semi-informed facts".

"In the notification we have said that the moment you buy those patras you have to give name and address. So the KYC norms are there and if you are buying more than Rs 50,000 then you have to give your PAN card.

"So the argument is narcotic dealers and narco terrorism and all those people will buy. But then they have to give their PAN cards and we will arrest all of them. You can't have a debate on ill-informed or semi-informed facts."


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