BJP targets AAP 'doublespeak' in Budget

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday accused the Arvind Kejriwal government of “doublespeak” on  austerity measures, saying that the increased luxury tax the Delhi Budget will hit the common man as well.

Taking part in the debate in the Assembly on the Budget presented last week, the party criticised the increase in service and entertainment taxes, as well as the 25 per cent hike in the vehicle registration tax.

Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Vijender Gupta said MLAs’ expenses budget has gone up by 50 lakh in the Aam Aadmi Party government’s budget.

“We had expected austerity from the AAP government but they want to employ 21 parliamentary secretaries. They approved a proposal to keep all parliamentary secretaries out of the purview of office of profit,” he said.

The BJP claimed that paying more in terms of taxes on cars and DTH (Direct-to-Home) connection, putting up with shortfall of buses, and shouldering the burden of increase in congestion tax on trucks loaded with essentials will affect everyday life of the city’s middle class.

“There is already a toll tax, and because of the hike in entry fee prices of essentials such as vegetables, milk, clothes will go up,” Gupta said.
 
In an environment-related measure, the AAP government has proposed congestion fees of Rs 100 to Rs 1,500 on different classes of goods vehicles in form of a tax.

“The Budget will hit DTH connection owners in twin way – through increased entertainment and service tax rates. People will have to pay Rs 40 more per month, per connection,” Gupta said.

“Delhi was about to procure 1,350 new DTC buses but the tender was cancelled, money was diverted to pay salaries of striking municipal corporations employees,” he said.
Claiming that the Budget will impact the common man and the city’s youth hard, the BJP leader criticised the increase in luxury tax from 10 per cent to 15 per cent.

The BJP also claimed that it was a “deficit” budget, as incomes of the government were overstated.
“It is a budget of minus 417 crore. Revenue figures are inflated. The generation of Rs 6,000 crore via Value Added Tax (VAT) is more than unrealistic,” Gupta said.
“You claimed you weren’t increasing any taxes but have actually increased financial burden by Rs 1,500 crore,” he added.
Earlier,  Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had tabled the VAT amendment bill, saying it will raise more revenue. However, the BJP claimed that government has done it with intention to increase the tax cap on sugar-sweetened beverages and alcohol.
The government aims to collect Rs 2,400 crore through VAT, which is 69 per cent of total revenue collection.  
Former transport minister in Kejriwal’s first tenure as chief minister last year, Saurav Bhardwaj said the Budget proves Delhi government’s intent to deliver on promises made to the poor.
“We are aware that there are apprehensions about how we are able to generate funds but time will tell. We are sure Delhi traders are with us. They will step forward and pay their due taxes. Excise duty is expected to be another contributor to government’s revenue,” Bhardwaj said.
AAP Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri supported his government’s budget and said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Budget decreased allocation for education, but we increased it by 106 per cent.”
This year’s Budget tried to warm up with its supporters, the poor, by pumping up spending on education and health.

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