OPINION: Wealth Tax - a cry of distress among the political parties and farmers
The Punjab Government led by SAD-BJP alliance is on its toes on the issue of wealth tax to get the political benefit. It wants to pass on the blame of its failures on the Centre Government. The factual position is that in 1992, the centre government...
The Punjab Government led by SAD-BJP alliance is on its toes on the issue of wealth tax to get the political benefit. It wants to pass on the blame of its failures on the Centre Government.
The factual position is that in 1992, the centre government had accepted the recommendations of 40 committees in the Finance Bill along with the budget for levying of wealth tax. After that the government of Atal Bihari Vajpai in 1998 had issued the notification to this effect with the result the farmers have started receiving the notices of wealth tax. This wealth tax imposed by the alliance government in the centre by the Income Tax officials, on the farmers, would work as adding fuel to the fire.
In fact, with the implementation of wealth tax, the government is axing on its own feet and becoming a cause of its fall as it is not in a position to bear the responsibility of its shortcomings and likely to fall with its own controversial issues. Despite the fact that the BJP having the main alliance in NDA is not having its own achievements and is a victim of internal division or cracks because the issue of candidate for the post of Prime Minister has put it in unnecessary controversy when still a sufficient time is available for the next elections. Frankly speaking, the important issues like failure, inflation and corruption have bought disgrace to the government. Though Congress is trying to fill up the vacuum but daily it gives itself new issue to the opposition party.
After the scams of, Common Wealth Games, everyday new scams are coming on surface with the result the graph of the image of the government is going day by day. The position is that the ministers of alliance political parties have bought humiliation to the alliance government and has not left anything to put a big question mark on renowned economic expert Dr. Manmohan Singh on his honesty and working.
Recently, the incident of heinous crime of gang-rape in December 2012 in Delhi with a physiotherapy doctor, has also put the government at the cross-roads despite the fact that the government has no role in such rape crimes but happening such like incidents in the capital of the nation is matter of shame. The rape incidents have regular feature and are appearing in the headlines of newspapers. No doubt, the rapes were happening in the past also but both media and police have come into action to special attention to these incidents.
Still when the incidents of rapes were going on, the centre government has levied the wealth tax on farmers in Punjab and even certain districts have issued notices to the farmers besides notices for confiscating the land in the event of failure to pay tax. With these notices, there is cry of distress among the political parties and farmers.
The Punjab Congress is worried on the issue and immediately approached the Finance Minister under the leadership of Partap Singh Bajwa, Congress President, to withdraw the wealth tax which is levied on all the lands within the 8 KMs municipal limit according to the population of the city. About 80 per cent of the farmer’s community is likely to come under the purview of wealth tax and the most surprising factor is that the amount of tax to be paid is Rs.30,000 to Rs.70,000 per acre against the total low income per acre. The maximum income from the land given on contract is Rs.30,000 per acre and it is better the government should own the land. It has never been in the history that the tax levied is more than the income amount.
The agriculture now being a non-profitable business, the farmers are committing suicides and now the centre government with pressure from the Punjab Congress to make amendment in the Financial Bill 2013 and it is expected that the agriculture land falling within the municipal limit would be free from tax but the municipal committee with population of 10,000 to 1 lac within two KMs and of population from 1 lac to 10 lacs within six KMs radius, there will be different income tax slabs. Now it is to be seen as to whether the centre government makes such amendment in the financial bill or not others the farmers will be badly affected economically. However, in the 40 recommendations report, four categories were exempted from wealth tax; first; agriculture land where house construction is not possible, second; exemption of tax for ten years of agriculture trading land, third; where the building is already constructed and fourth; land for industrial set-up.
As per the critical analysis, the farmers will not get any benefit for these amendments till such time the entire agriculture land falling within the municipal limit is exempted from tax. In case no tax exemption is given by the centre government, the Akali Dal will create a big problem for the centre government by making it a big issue.
As we know, Capt Amarinder Singh during his tenure got the water issued passed in the Punjab Assembly and Akalis has to support it under compulsion and now in the same way, Akali Dal in its session on May 3, will got the resolution passed against the wealth tax and the Congress party has to support the Akali Dal.
(Disclaimer: The views expressed by the author in this article are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of City Air News.)