Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, in his Union Budget presented today, kept the income-tax structure largely unchanged, only announcing a tax credit of Rs 2,000 for every person who has an annual income of up to Rs 5 lakh, and imposing the 10% surcharge on persons with taxable income of over Rs 1 crore.
There are only 42,800 people in India who admit to having a taxable income of over Rs 100 crore a year, the Finance Minister noted.
"I believe there is a little bit of the spirit of Mr Azim Premji in every affluent tax payer," Mr Chidambaram said, referring to the chairman of Wipro, one of the richest men in the country and also known for his philanthropy.
Taxing the super-rich has been a matter of much debate in the run-up to Budget 2013. While there are industrialists like Mr Premji, who said, "In terms of taxing the super-rich, I think there is legitimacy in a country as poor as ours," there are others like Adi Godrej who argued that, "Any increase in taxes (on rich) will create a negative perception on investment and therefore should be avoided."