Letters to the editor dated February 1, 2020

| Updated on February 01, 2020

A catch-all Budget

The Budget has taken care of the interests of many sectors and taxpayers though it has not given any specific relief to important sectors such as real estate and automobiles. Abolition of dividend distribution tax and the recent reductions in corporate tax should probably help these sectors as also many others.

As dividend is taxable in the hands of individuals, a uniform tax rate of 10 per cent should be applied regardless of the tax bracket and the dividend income should not be clubbed with other taxable incomes. Another reform that could have been carried out is abolition of separate capital gains tax by taxing profits at separate rates depending on asset vintage. The Budget is silent on the river-linking project which was announced a few years ago.

M Raghuraman


Big-bang reforms missing

The Budget is disappointing. It hasn’t unleashed the expected big-bang reforms and measures to address the present entrenched economic slowdown. While it has brought cheers to the salaried middle-class thanks to a discernible cut in income-tax slabs, the announcement to sell a part of the government’s holding in LIC via an IPO would in all likelihood invite stiff opposition on the ground.

The announcements such as Kisan Rail to transport perishable agricultural goods, dairy/marine products, and solar pumps for farmers as part of the government’s efforts to double farmers’ income, allocation of ₹4,400 crore for clean air, linking of one lakh gram panchayats through Bharat Net, and the closure of thermal power plants with emissions above prescribed limits are welcome.

Rather than ushering in concrete steps to kick-start rural demand and revive private investment, for it holds the key to lifting the economy out of its current morass, the Finance Minister has taken recourse to incremental measures and broken her own record of having made the longest Budget speech by any Finance Minister in the history of independent India

M Jeyaram

Sholavandan, TN

Bank strike unjustified

The employees of public sector banks and some private sector banks are on a two-day strike, with more disruptive agitations planned. All sections must realise that in the new business world, there are no entitlements. Higher wages and benefits can only come out of higher profits of the organisations. Public sector banks, in general, are going through very difficult times in terms of profitability and non-performing assets. Unions want fewer working days. As it is PSB counter hours are lower than private banks’. Hence this demand is surprising. ‘Wage settlement’ in PBSs mean equal wage increases to all employees — performers and under-performers. This too seems difficult to justify.

V Vijaykumar


BJP’s dangerous ploy in Delhi

From whatever is in public domain, it is understood that the BJP is trying to make polarisation as the plank for the Delhi State Assembly polls, primarily against the AAP, which is in the saddle.

The sound-bytes of Anurag Thakur and Parvez Varma are to be seen in this light. The party has also pushed Amit Shah as the face of BJP versus Arvind Kejriwal, going back on its own words some time back that the party would fight the elections under the leadership of Narendra Modi; and therefore, the party had not named any Chief Ministerial candidate earlier.

The party's election manifesto release function was led by Nitin Gadkari, and not by the ones directly connected to the State polls. Obviously, the BJP seems to be jerky, and trying to regain some lost ground, especially after the setbacks in Maharashtra, Jharkhand, and even Haryana.

One remembers that Amit Shah in 2015 had thundered in election rallies in Bihar that if the BJP does not win Bihar, there would be celebrations in Pakistan. Apparently, the wheel has turned again, and the BJP is dangerously repeating old tricks for electoral gain, at the cost of social harmony and national interests.

D Bhutia


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Published on February 01, 2020

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