New Delhi: Finance minister Arun Jaitley defended not giving major relief to the middle class, saying the government had done enough in the past and would provide succour in the future depending on the fiscal space.
“If you analyse the sum total of my last 4-5 Budgets, I have given relief in almost every Budget to the smaller tax-payer,” he said.
He said the government had raised the exemption limit from Rs 2 lakh and additional exemption of Rs 50,000 on saving was given. “Rs 1 lakh became Rs 1.5 lakh. Another exemption of Rs 50,000 for housing loan repayments was given, raising it to Rs 2 lakh per year,” he said.
For professionals the government had made taxation simple for those having income up to Rs 50 lakh.
Reducing tax base won’t help: Jaitley
For such category of small taxpayer, income tax was levied on the 50 per cent of their income and remaining 50 per cent were considered as expense under presumptive income scheme, he said at a post-Budget event. Pointing out that revenues are required for building infrastructure, and other needs, Jaitley said, “To reduce the tax base by saying the number of tax payers are being reduced, you don’t serve the larger national interest.”
The government can serve national interest by ensuring that people come within the tax net but the smaller body given concessions in various ways so that they pay less, he said.