Union Budget 2022: 'Didn't increase tax burden on people,' says finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman; explains why
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the Union Budget 2022, calling it 'people friendly'. The opposition, however, slammed the government for not doing anything for the middle class.
Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Tuesday that she did not attempt to increase the taxes in the Union Budget she presented in Parliament today. She added that the government has continued this tradition from last year, when the Prime Minister Narendra Modi directed the officials to not burden the common man with higher taxes during Covid-19.
“I did not increase the taxes. I want to repeat this - I didn’t do it last year as well as this year. I did not make any attempt to earn a single paisa through taxes,” Sitharaman said at a post-Budget press conference.
“Last year, the Prime Minister had ordered us not to increase taxes during the pandemic time, even if there is huge fiscal deficit. He said the public should not face the additional burden of taxes during this time. There were same instructions this time around too,” she added.
The finance minister said she did not attempt to seek relief by raising taxes to face Covid-19 challenges.
Sitharaman tabled the Union Budget in the Lok Sabha and later in Rajya Sabha today. Though many measures were announced to give a relief to the poor battered by the Covid-19 pandemic, the tax slabs were kept unchanged.
The minister also did not raise standard deduction, which was widely anticipated in view of elevated inflation levels and impact of the pandemic on the middle class.
The standard deduction currently stands at ₹50,000.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the “people friendly and progressive” Budget, saying that it is full of possibilities for more investments, infrastructure and jobs.
The Prime Minister said that the Budget brought new confidence to usher development in the midst of one the most terrible calamities in 100 years, a reference to the Covid-19 pandemic.
But the opposition slammed the finance document, with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi calling it a “zero sum Budget”.
His party colleague Anand Sharma said that the Budget did not meet the expectations of bringing relief to taxpayers and small industries. “Rising inequality has also not been addressed," the Congress leader was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The Budget presented by Sitharaman for the fiscal year beginning April 2022 proposed a massive 35 per cent jump in capital expenditure to ₹7.5 lakh crore, coupled with rationalisation of customs duty, an extension of time for setting up new manufacturing companies and plans for starting a digital currency and tax crypto assets.