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‘When you sit for meal…’: On Independence Day, PM’s emotional appeal to tax payers

Mentioning that India’s direct taxpayers base was just 4 crore till 2013, PM Modi assured honest taxpayers that they would not face any harassment.

india Updated: Aug 15, 2018 15:04 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Tax payers,Income tax,narendra modi live speech
Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures while delivering his speech as part of India's 72nd Independence Day celebrations at the Red Fort in New Delhi on August 15, 2018.(AFP)

In his last Independence Day address ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday hailed tax payers’ contribution and assured them of protection against any harassment.

Listing the various successful schemes his government had initiated during the last four years, he said that the entire credit for these works goes to the honest taxpayers and not to his government.

Mentioning that India’s direct taxpayers base was just 4 crore till 2013, Modi said: “Today, the number of taxpayers stand around 6.45 crore. Indirect tax-base was 70 lakh in last 70 years. But after the implementation of the GST (Goods and Services Tax), in one year, 1.16 crore people are paying tax now.”

“We are committed to ensure tax payers don’t face any harassment,” Modi announced in a bid to reassure common people against tax sleuths.

Making an emotional appeal to people to pay taxes honestly, he said when they sit with their families for meals, they should feel proud how their taxes help poor people get food too.

“I want to reach out to honest tax payers. When you sit for a meal, you must think that because of your taxes, three more families also eat their meals. This is a great help and you should feel proud,” he said his address at the Red Fort.

Read | India now known for ‘reform, perform, transform’: Top quotes from PM Modi’s I-Day speech

Observers say that Modi’s outreach to taxpayers comes against the backdrop of some Opposition parties’ criticism about alleged hasty implementation of the GST that has led to difficulties among a section of the trading and business establishment.

The PM also spoke at length on how his government has tackled corruption and stopped leakage of public money.

“I can never sit with eyes closed if resources are wasted without the implementation of schemes,” he said.

“Six crore people never existed but money went out on their names in different welfare schemes. This government has stopped that practice and saved almost Rs 90,000 crore from the exchequer that earlier went to some unscrupulous people,” Modi added.

He gave an example how poor people were denied their dues at ration shops and the food items instead sold in markets.

“The price of wheat and rice would be Rs 24 and Rs 30-32 in open market but at ration shops, a beneficiary is entitled to get them at Rs 2 and 3. But these items were sold outside. Just imagine, by siphoning off just one kilo rice, one would earn Rs 30. We have stopped the fraud in ration shops,” he said.

First Published: Aug 15, 2018 12:40 IST