Tax rich, big players more to increase revenue: Congress Rajya Sabha MP

New Delhi: Congress Rajya Sabha member Shaktisinh Gohil on Monday asked the government to tax the rich and big players more to increase revenue but spare the poor and the middle class who have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Taking part in a discussion on Appropriation Bills in the Upper House, he also hit out at the government for spending crores of rupees on the Central Vista project at a time when the Centre doesn’t even have money to pay states their share of GST revenue.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had moved the Appropriation (No.3) Bill, 2022 which seeks to authorise payment of certain additional sums from the consolidated fund of India for services of 2021-22, and Appropriation (No.2) Bill, 2022 for services during the financial year 2018-19.
Asking the government to bring more rich people into the tax net, he said if the government has to impose taxes to increase revenue, the rich and big players must be taxed more but the poor should be spared.
“The middle class and the poor have been hit hard by the pandemic and their budget has been disturbed,” Gohil said.
While the minister would have faced difficulties in preparing the Budget considering the pandemic, he said, there were resources available as the price of crude in international markets had come down and more money could have been taken by increasing taxes.
Referring to the transfer to states, he said the finance minister has claimed that not just the non-BJP ruled states but all the states have not been given their share of GST collection.
“If you have no money to pay the state’s GST share, then we don’t have any right to spend money on new Parliament,” he said.
If the government can stop Railway concessions given to senior citizens, journalists and the differently-abled because it does not have funds due to the pandemic, can’t the multi-crore Central Vista project be stopped, he asked.
Citing the CAG report, Gohil alleged that the Ministry of Rural Development did not deduct tax at source for the services it has taken which has resulted in the “loss of crore of rupees to the exchequer”.
Further, he also asked the finance minister to prevent leakages in the supply of high altitude clothing, equipment and ration and housing to defence forces, saying a CAG report has found irregularities, including supply of substandard quality of sleeping bags and shoes.
Gohil also lamented that the health department did not heed to the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on Health, which after the first wave of the pandemic had warned of the second wave and gave suggestions like preparation for storage of oxygen for human usage and keeping more ICU beds ready, and advice against the export of medicines and ventilators.

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