FM Arun Jaitley rules out tax on agricultural income but retains Excise Duty on Gold

Sarkaritel
By Sarkaritel May 5, 2016 16:08

FM Arun Jaitley rules out tax on agricultural income but retains Excise Duty on Gold

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By TN Ashok

New Delhi, May 5, 2016 : The Modi led BJP-NDA  government today won a vote of reassurance of its governance as the all crucial Finance Bill of FY 2016-17 was passed in the lok sabha today by a voice vote with the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley moving a record number of 55 amendments to the bill.

This brings down the curtains on the budget that was presented to parliament in February this year where no major announcements were made keeping in mind the assembly elections in five states – Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry. The government had chosen to tread a careful path as the pre budget Economic Survey had warned of strong tail winds ensuing from a still unstable global economic environment following worldwide recession. To complete the budgetary process in Parliament, the Rajya Sabha has now to return the money bill to the lower house after a brief discussion and reply by the FM.

The Finance Minister Arun jaitley while replying to the discussion on the bill affirmed that the government had no intent to impose any tax on agricultural income but retained the one per cent excise duty on gold despite widespread protest from traders. Under the constitution, there is no power to levy tax on agricultural income, Jaitley observed.

Jaitley advised State governments not to impose any taxes on agriculture income although the latter had the power to do so.  “Given the situation of our agriculture, it would be advisable not to levy any new taxes”, Jaitley said while replying to the debate on the finance bill and budget that lasted over an hour. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi , Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Senior leader LK Advani and ministers of key portfolios were present in the house during voting. Most opposition leaders too were present in the house during voting but did not oppose except that some of them raised points order for which the speaker Ms Sumitra Mahajan gave a ruling that nothing barred from the government in including non taxation proposals in the finance bill if it considered it important enough to do so even though by convention of the house it was generally not done. The point of order was not heeded.

Jaitley referred to the mounting NPAs in public sector banks as a major cause for worry and said government would inject more capital into them to address the problem of increasing bad debts or loans. “ Non performance assets of banks is an issue of concern. Hiding NPAs will not resolve the problem. They should be reflected in balance sheets and addressed through capitalization. Good monsoon will aid the acceleration for economic growth”, he said.

Its worth recalling that some time ago the RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan had issued a stern warning to commercial banks especially those in the public sector domain to clean up their balance sheets within a specified time period in order to stay healthy and retain RBI support.  

Referring to heat and din  in the house on the Panama papers disclosing leading names of industrialists and celebrities having offshore accounts in foreign denominated currency, Jaitley said :”  We have sent notice to all those names appeared in the Panama leaks.”

On tax laws, he said “We have simplified income tax filing for professionals and small traders. This has resulted in more people filing taxes.  The government’s aim is to make available more money to small taxpayers, the FM said even as he added that “We also want the society to be pensioned society”. 

Sarkaritel
By Sarkaritel May 5, 2016 16:08