State Finance Minister Amit Mitra Thursday slammed the Centre for doing away with Section 132A of Income Tax Act, 1995, and expressed apprehension over Union Budget granting Income Tax officials more teeth and allowing arrests by taxmen under the new GST Act.
Section 132A lists out the provisions under which Income Tax officials can requisition books of account and other relevant documents for their investigations.
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“Now people will be prone to harassment by taxmen, with the Centre doing away with Section 132A. Even the Goods and Service Tax law allows arrest by department officials directly, as opposed to provisions in the VAT law, which requires filing of FIRs. We had fought against this, but were not able to win. However, the new law will not be applicable in the case of sums under Rs 2 crore,” said Mitra during his speech in the state Assembly.
Later, he also lauded the state Budget and said there had been “excellent improvement” in all important metrics, when compared to the Left Front regime. Mitra pointed out that in 2010-11 revenue deficit was 3.75 per cent, and in 2015-16 the same had dropped to 0.97 per cent. On fiscal deficit front, the same was 4.24 per cent to 2.22 per cent in 2015-16. He also said Debt to GDP ratio improved under the TMC government. Opposition leaders, however, said the finance minister had avoided addressing important questions.
CPM MLA Sujan Chakraborty said the state’s share in total revenue had slipped, and the small rise in revenue was mostly due to excise from liquor and electricity tax and duties. He also alleged there had been “misappropriation of funds” in the scheme to distribute cycles to school students. He also demanded that honorarium given to ICDS and ASHA workers be raised from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000 per month.