Modiís promise: will review tax system, need for reform

ModiGujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Yog guru Ramdev at the 5th foundation day celebrations of "Bharat Swabhiman". (PTI)

Terming the existing taxation structure as a "burden", BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Sunday promised to review and reform the system if his party is voted to power.

"The present taxation system is a burden on the common man. There is a need to reform it. It is the need of the time," said Modi. "Will is what really matters in these (economic changes) things. Look how we did away with the posts of boiler inspectors and lift inspectors in Gujarat to reduce corruption. We will examine the tax structure closely, rationalisation is the need of the hour. If the present system is to continue, what is the point of my coming here," he said.

Modi was speaking at the fifth foundation day of Bharat Swabhimaan, an organisation run by yoga guru Ramdev.

His remarks assume significance as the BJP has been talking about abolition of taxes in its internal meetings in the past as well. Former BJP president Nitin Gadkari has said that he is contemplating incorporating a proposal to abolish income, sales and excise taxes in the vision document of his party. Last week, the team behind the idea made a presentation to top BJP leaders on the issue.

Ramdev placed three demands in front of the "future prime minister": bring back black money parked abroad, abolish all taxes and institute a two per cent bank transaction tax (BTT), and establish Hindi as the language of official transactions.

Speaking about Gujarat's abolition of octroi, Modi said he was familiar with Ramdev's idea of economic "revolution".

BJP president Rajnath Singh and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, who were also present at the function, agreed with Modi and underlined their commitment to the fight against black money.

"Rationalisation of tax structure is the need of the hour. We need to take states into confidence. We have to discuss whether it is fair that the BTT rate is the same for the rich and the poor. But we will thrash all these things out and reach a solution because we are determined to give relief to the common man," said Jaitley.

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