Ashok Dasgupta

NEW DELHI: Give some, take some. That should be the general motto while garnering revenue for a more "inclusive" growth and equity, especially in a country where economic disparities are glaring. But when it comes to an additional tax burden to meet funding requirements, the reactions are sharp.

Take the corporates to which the Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) is applicable. Infosys chief mentor N.R. Narayanamurthy has said time and again that technology companies should be ready to pay some tax.

However, when Finance Minister P. Chidambaram announced such a measure in his budget proposals for 2007-08, almost all information technology companies suffered a slump on the stock markets.

As for the average taxpayers, Mr. Chidambaram belied all expectations, bolstered by pre-budget analyses which indicated a major hike in the threshold exemption limit. What the Minister announced was a mere Rs. 10,000. Additionally, the education cess has been hiked from two to three per cent.

While Mr. Chidambaram explained that the net effect would be marginal on the taxpayer, he seemed to have overlooked the recurring monthly levy on services such as telephones, mobiles as well as credit cards.