Former Karnataka Chief Minister and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leader HD Kumaraswamy on Monday opined that the government should work towards lowering the cost of living as the spending power of the consumers has weakened, and it should impose COVID cess on the ultra-rich while implementing "citizen-centric" measures like waivers of EMIs, rents, school fees etc.
The economy won't bounce back within a very short period. It is important to lower the cost of living as spending power of the consumer has depleted. The govt must cut the petrol/diesel prices. The loss of revenue may be offset partially by imposing COVID cess on the ultra rich.— H D Kumaraswamy (@hd_kumaraswamy) April 27, 2020
According to RBI and international economic assessment agencies, the GDP growth rate of the country is expected to fall to a historic low. Such a dire situation calls for citizen centric measures like full or partial waivers of EMIs, rents, school fees and other levies.— H D Kumaraswamy (@hd_kumaraswamy) April 27, 2020
It is high time the government announced schemes to save livelihoods of people, especially those in the unorganized sector. The government must provide immediate relief to farmers, construction workers, cab & auto drivers, garment workers, etc.— H D Kumaraswamy (@hd_kumaraswamy) April 27, 2020
Kumaraswamy's response comes after an ill-conceived report named as Fiscal Options and Response to Covid-19 Epidemic (FORCE) was put up by a group of officers through the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) Association giving a wide range of suggestions such as increasing taxes including an additional COVID cess and increasing the surcharge on foreign companies in India, among others. As per the sources, Union Ministry of Finance has directed the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to seek explanation from the officers for coming up with an absurd report and putting it out in public without any authority.
The paper titled 'FORCE', dated April 23, has been sent to CBDT Chairman PC Mody and the board members. On Sunday, CBDT said an inquiry is being initiated against the 50 IRS officers. According to the apex body, it had never asked IRS Association or these officers to prepare such a report and no permission was sought by them before making the report public. It also said the "impugned report" does not reflect the official views of CBDT/ Ministry of Finance in any manner.