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Freebies Debate: BJP Calls Kejriwal ‘Pinocchio of Indian Politics’ Over 'Misleading' Corporate Tax Claim

By: News Desk

News18.com

Last Updated: August 12, 2022, 13:54 IST

New Delhi, India

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal speaks during the unveiling ceremony of Corona Warriors Memorial, in the Delhi Legislative Assembly complex, on August 9, 2022. (PTI)

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal speaks during the unveiling ceremony of Corona Warriors Memorial, in the Delhi Legislative Assembly complex, on August 9, 2022. (PTI)

BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawala tweeted that contrary to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s claim, despite a rate cut, the government collected 15% more corporate tax in FY22 than it did in FY19

The BJP on Friday hit out at AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for allegedly misrepresenting the debate around freebie announcements during elections, particularly his claim that corporate tax rate cut was designed to benefit big firms.

Taking to Twitter, BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawala addressed Kejriwal as the “Pinocchio of Indian Politics” and said the Delhi CM was using “old reports and data” to mislead the public. “The truth is that despite a cut in corporate tax rate, the government collected Rs 7.3 lakh crore in FY 22, 15% more than in FY 19,” Poonawala said in the tweet in Hindi.

News agency PTI quoted government sources as saying that no one holds giving free benefits to the poor as wrong, but that it is also wrong to classify the loan write-offs or corporate tax rate cut as freebies.

On reduction in corporate tax rate, the report quoted sources as saying that total corporate tax collections in 2019-20 did decline by about 16% to Rs 5.57 lakh crore. But the decline was about Rs 1 lakh crore and not Rs 1.45 lakh crore, as was feared at the time.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had on Thursday hit out at Kejriwal for giving a “perverse twist” to the debate on freebies, saying the AAP leader putting education and health in that category is an attempt to create fear in the minds of the poor.

A day after Kejriwal joined the debate on freebies, calling for a referendum on spending taxpayers’ money on healthcare and education, Sitharaman said spending on these two has never been called or classified as freebies since Independence and to drag them now in this debate is to give it a “perverse twist”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has in recent days hit out at the competitive populism of extending ‘rewaris‘ (freebies) which are “not just wastage of taxpayers’ money but also an economic disaster that could hamper India’s drive to become atmanirbhar (self-reliant)”.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had suggested setting up a specialised body to examine “irrational freebies” offered to voters during elections.

On Thursday, the top court observed that freebies and social welfare schemes were two different things, but a balance has to be struck between the economy losing money and welfare measures. The court also ruled out the possibility of considering a plea to de-recognise parties for making promises to give freebies.

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first published:August 12, 2022, 13:54 IST
last updated:August 12, 2022, 13:54 IST