Chennai: More than 80 per cent of Indians support a tax on the rich and corporations who earned record profits during the pandemic, a nationwide survey conducted ahead of the Budget by Fight Inequality Alliance India (FIA India) said.
As per the survey based on inputs from 3,231 respondents from 24 states, 84 per cent want the government to place a 2 per cent Covid surcharge on individuals earning more than Rs 2 crore per annum. Further, 89.3 per cent want imposition of a temporary tax on companies making massive profits during the pandemic.
As high as 89 per cent of the respondents also want the government to impose fines on private companies that do not fulfil environmental norms.
A global study by the UK-based Fight Inequality Alliance had earlier shown that the wealth of Indian billionaires has more than doubled during the pandemic while 46 million people are estimated to have fallen into extreme poverty in 2020 and nearly half of the newly added poor are in India. As per this, the richest 98 billionaires own the same wealth as the bottom 40 per cent of Indian society.
The study had said that an annual wealth tax in India would raise $78.3 billion a year with a 2 per cent tax on those having wealth over $5 million, 3 per cent on wealth over $50 million and 5 per cent on wealth over $1 billion. A more progressive wealth tax would raise $122 billion with rates at 2 per cent on wealth over $5 million, 5 per cent on wealth over $50 million and 10 per cent on wealth over $1 billion. Globally, an annual wealth tax could raise $2.52 trillion and a progressive wealth tax $3.62 trillion a year.
Further, the pre-budget survey found that more than 90 per cent of participants demanded budget measures to combat inequality such as universal social security, right to health, and expansion of budget to prevent gender-based violence.
Of the respondents, 94.3 per cent wants the government to provide universal minimum social security, including health and maternity benefits, accident insurance, life insurance, and pension to all unorganised workers. Close to 90 per cent of respondents asked the government to ensure that all schools provide additional academic support to students who experienced learning loss and roll provisions like breakfast in schools. They also wanted the government to universalise PDS and continue providing free food grains to the poor beyond March 2022.