BJP, Congress sing populist tune, say no to higher taxes

BJP, Congress sing populist tune, say no to higher taxes
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First Published: Thu, Apr 02 2009. 11 32 PM IST

Eye on election: Science and technology minister Kapil Sibal.
Eye on election: Science and technology minister Kapil Sibal.
Updated: Thu, Apr 02 2009. 11 32 PM IST
New Delhi: Here’s something you don’t see every day: India’s two main political parties agreeing publicly on issues of economic importance.
Eye on election: Science and technology minister Kapil Sibal.
Both the ruling Congress as well as opposition Bharatiya Janata Party have promised not to impose any fresh taxes if they were to form the next national government.
This assurance was held out by two leaders, Arun Jaitley of the BJP and Kapil Sibal of the Congress, at a CNBC-TV18 discussion on the Indian economy ahead of the elections.
The Left, meanwhile, is sticking to its guns, having warned that it would raise tax rates and impose new levies were it to assume power.
Jaitley, a former minister who has held several key portfolios, including commerce and law, in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government, said: “India cannot go back to a high-tax regime. The BJP manifesto (to be released on Friday) will have a categorical assurance that taxes will not be raised.”
The Congress concurred. Sibal, minister for science and technology in the current government, said the Congress has always believed in a sympathetic tax regime. “We have no intentions to tax our people any further,” he said.
Sibal’s remarks are in line with the Congress manifesto, which promises “to stimulate demand in the domestic economy and ensure that there is more purchasing power in the hands of the people and more liquidity in the hands of companies.”
Speaking at the same event, Sitaram Yechury, politburo member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), reiterated his party’s stance, saying that while the Left would cut taxes for the salaried, pensioners and senior citizens, tax concessions to corporate houses would be halted.
His party’s manifesto also promises to levy a wealth tax on the “super rich”, introduce an inheritance tax and raise the tax on stock market transactions.
cnbctv18@livemint.com
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First Published: Thu, Apr 02 2009. 11 32 PM IST