Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his Independence Day speech that drew attention to "population explosion", plastic pollution and the need for not seeing "wealth creators with suspicion" - and added a message for the current Finance Minister especially on the last point.
"Of the three exhortations, I hope the FM and her legion of tax officials and investigators heard the PM's second exhortation loud and clear," Mr Chidambaram tweeted today, making a direct reference to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Of the three exhortations, I hope the FM and her legion of tax officials and investigators heard the PM's second exhortation loud and clear— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) August 16, 2019
PM Modi in his speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort had said, "Wealth creation is a great national service. Let us never see wealth creators with suspicion. Only when wealth is created, wealth will be distributed. Wealth creation is absolutely essential. Those who create wealth are India's wealth and we respect them."
Mr Chidambaram's comments came nearly two weeks after former Infosys Director Mohandas Pai alleged threat to businesses from "tax terrorism", and a report said Biocon Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar Shaw was told by a "government official" not to speak about issues such as income tax harassment.
Mr Pai also recounted an incident, where an official called up his colleague in Infosys and threatened to "shut him down".
The founder of popular chain Cafe Coffee Day, VG Siddhartha, before his death last month in a purported suicide note had blamed "harassment" from a senior income tax officer as one of the reasons for taking his own life.
"There was a lot of harassment from the previous DG income tax in the form of attaching our shares on two separate occasions..." Mr VG Siddhartha said in the letter tweeted by news agency ANI on the day he went missing from a bridge near Mangaluru in Karnataka. His body was found two days later.
Mr Chidambaram, along with his son Karti, faces allegations of wrongdoing in allowing foreign direct investment when he was finance minister in UPA-1.
In this year's Union Budget, Ms Sitharaman put companies with annual turnover of Rs 400 crore under the 25 per cent corporate tax bracket, covering 99.3 per cent of the companies operating in the country. Before the announcement, the lower rate of 25 per cent was applicable only to companies having annual turnover up to Rs 250 crore.
This move was welcomed by businesses.
The centre also maintains the initial difficulties to businesses in switching to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) have smoothened out now and the national tax has started to show results.
In today's tweet, Mr Chidambaram also praised PM Modi's suggestions on not using single-use plastic and concerns over runaway population growth. "The... exhortations must become people's movements. There are hundreds of dedicated voluntary organisations that are willing to lead the movements at local levels," Mr Chidambaram said.
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