A tax issue in Mizoram

March 20, 2019 10:00 pm | Updated 10:00 pm IST - GUWAHATI

Tax cut concept to reduce taxes paying less. Vector

Tax cut concept to reduce taxes paying less. Vector

Tax deduction at source (TDS) on bank deposits has become a major issue in Mizoram, where tribal people are exempt from paying income tax. Election to the lone Lok Sabha seat in the State is scheduled for April 11. On Wednesday, members of the NGO Coordination Committee, an umbrella body of social and students’ organisations in Mizoram, laid siege to banks and financial institutions across the State to press for withdrawal of the TDS order. “The agitation was called off after the bank officials said they would take steps to drop the TDS plan for Mizoram at least,” the committee’s chairman Vanlalruata said.

The bankers’ promise notwithstanding, political parties have jumped onto the anti-TDS bandwagon and made it a poll issue.

“TDS on bank deposits shows how cruel this BJP-led NDA government can be,” Lalduhoma, a former IPS officer and president of the regional Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), told The Hindu from the State capital Aizawl. “This is a major issue for us, almost on par with that of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, that threatens the existence of the indigenous people of the State,” he added.

The ZPM and Congress have come together to back 42-year-old independent candidate Lalnhinglova Hmar, widely known as ‘father of Mizo football’, against the ruling Mizo National Front’s C. Lalrosanga, who is a former Director General of Doordarshan.

Also in the fray are former Navy official T.B.C. Lalthanchhunga of the People’s Representative for the Identity and Status of Mizoram and another independent, Lalhriatrenga Chhangte, a former deputy controller of mines.

“According to the new policy, 10% TDS will apply if annual interest on deposits by an individual exceeds ₹10,000,” Mr Lalduhoma said. “Agreed that TDS can be exempted on the production of a tax-exempt certificate from the Income Tax Department, but for that Mizos will have to go to Silchar in Assam, 180 km from Aizawl, where the nearest Income Tax office is located.”

This, he said, would be unnecessary harassment of the Mizos, who are anyway exempted from paying Income Tax on account of being a Scheduled Tribe in a Sixth Schedule area.

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