President Ram Nath Kovind, urging people to pay taxes regularly for the sake of development, said at an event in his hometown in Uttar Pradesh last week: "I pay taxes too". He also remarked that others earned more than what he could save in a month after paying taxes.
President Kovind, on a three-day visit to UP, made these remarks during a stopover at the Jhinjhak town on Friday when he was travelling from Delhi to Kanpur by a special train. Jhinjhak is close to the President's birthplace, the Paraunkh village of UP's Kanpur Dehat district . At a function organised at the Jhinjhak railway station, the President urged people to pay taxes as a duty to the nation.
"Sometimes in anger if say a train is not stopping at a particular railway station, we stop it forcibly we even set it on fire. If a train is set on fire who loses? People say it is government property. It is the taxpayer's money. I am mentioning this because everyone knows...there is nothing wrong...the President is the country's highest paid employee but he also pays tax. I pay Rs 2.75 lakh as tax each month. Everyone says I get Rs 5 lakh a month, but it is taxed too," Mr Kovind said, as his audience clapped and cheered.
"But how much is left? Whatever I save, our officials earn more than that. The teachers here...they earn the most," the President chuckled.
He continued: "I am only saying this to illustrate that these taxes lead to development. So whose loss is it? Yours and mine."
Yesterday, at an event at his village, the President said he had never imagined that "an ordinary village boy" like him would have the honour of occupying the highest post in the country.
The Rashtrapati Bhavan tweeted that in a rare emotional gesture, Mr Kovind touched the soil and bowed after landing at the helipad near his village.
"I had never imagined, even in my dreams, that an ordinary village boy like me would have the honour of occupying the highest post in the country. Our democratic system made this possible," he said.
"Wherever I have reached today, the credit goes to the soil of this village, this region, and to your love and blessings."