People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
February 18, 2001
CPI(M) MP WRITES TO PM
Recover Tax Dues To Finance Gujarat Relief
Dipankar Mukherjee, a CPI(M) member of Rajya Sabha, wrote the following letter to the prime minsiter, Atal Behari Vajpayee, on February 6, on the issue of a surcharge on income tax.
IN the light of the government's decision to impose an additional surcharge on personal income tax and corporate tax through an ordinance, I am constrained to invite your attention to the fact that the outstanding amount of unrecovered taxes has been increasing continuously during the last three years. As per the answer of the ministry of finance to an unstarred question No. 221, dated July 25, 2000 in Rajya Sabha, the total amount of tax outstanding on account of income tax, corporate tax, customs duty and central excise duty were as below:
As on 31.3.1998 ------ Rs 47,888 crore
As on 31.3.1999 ------ Rs 52,617 crore
As on 31.3.2000 ------ Rs 62,392 crore
As a matter of fact, the total amount of corporate tax outstanding as on March 31, 2000 is Rs 28,348 crore. The top 100 tax assesses, as identified in the aforesaid reply, owe Rs 23,199 crore to the government. In a subsequent reply to USQ No. 1655, dated December 5, 2000 on the subject, the ministry of finance has expressed its inability to fix any target for recovery within a specific time-frame.
Under the circumstances, I would request you to formulate a time-bound action plan to recover a targeted amount of the above outstandings so as to finance the post-quake relief and reconstruction expenditure in Gujarat, before resorting to any harsh measures of taxing the common man in the ensuing budget.