BJP panel submits report on taxation

Tuesday, 21 January 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) panel Monday submitted its report on the taxation proposals of a government-appointed task force, suggesting many changes with an eye on the general as well as state elections.

The panel, headed by former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Rajnath Singh, submitted its recommendations on the Kelkar committee report to party president M. Venkaiah Naidu.

"Naidu will study the recommendations and forward them to the finance ministry on Thursday," BJP spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters here.

The Kelkar committee had been asked by the government to suggest a roadmap to rationalise taxation. Protesting against various recommendations in the Kelkar report that could be unpopular, the BJP set up its own panel to study it and recommend changes.

The panel consulted with the report's author Vijay Kelkar as well as financial organisations and social activists, said Naqvi.

Though the BJP refused to make the recommendations public, sources said the panel had suggested modifications in proposals that could annoy middle class and lower middle class voters.

The panel was highly critical of the Kelkar committee's proposal to make agricultural income taxable.

The party felt such a decision would be politically damaging, especially with the BJP gearing up for polls in key states this year and a general election next year.

The panel has reportedly favoured the Kelkar committee recommendation of widening the tax net and improving the collection mechanism across the country.

But it wants to give a tax reprieve to small industries to help them compete in the globalised market scenario. The panel favours continuing housing loan incentives -- another sop for the middle class.

The panel has suggested infrastructure incentives should stay and has also made additional recommendations to boost middle class investments in the sagging capital market.
Source: IANS
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