Saturday 1 February 2020

Tax social media giants, ecommerce companies: Swadeshi Jagran Manch

Tax social media giants, ecommerce companies: Swadeshi Jagran ManchNEW DELHI: The Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) has strongly recommended that the Centre bring foreign-run social media giants, ecommerce companies, giant foreign software companies and large taxi and travel aggregators under the tax net in the upcoming Budget, to meet its revenue shortfall. SJM is an influential RSS affiliate whose imprint is increasingly found on a number of government decisions.

SJM’s ‘protectionist’ recommendation comes at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and commerce minister Piyush Goyal have been making statements in tune with the Manch’s stand ––exhorting citizens to buy more Indian goods than foreign ones, to boost the Indian economy.

The RSS think tank that focuses on economic issues has been fighting doggedly to ‘protect’ Indian small and medium sector enterprises from ‘foreign owned’ ecommerce firms and large MNCs. After pre-budget consultations with the government, the Manch sent in its recommendation to the finance ministry, expressing concern over the revenue and direct tax shortfalls and the inefficiency of the GST network. SJM’s national co-convenor, Ashwani Mahajan confirmed to ET that pre-budget meetings were held.

Mahajan also attended an official prebudget meeting with finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman along with industry stakeholders such as FICCI and CII.

“Yes, we have made some suggestions to the finance ministry for the upcoming budget and on the economy. We are concerned over the projected shortfalls in revenue from GST and from direct taxes. CBDT’s projections of a shortfall by Rs 1.4 lakh crore in direct taxes is again worrisome. The natural victims of these shortfalls in revenue are social sectors like education, health, drinking water, child and women development, besides infrastructure development. SJM feels the decrease in corporate receipts is being seen not because there is a slide in their growth but because emerging corporates are not paying tax,” Ashwani Mahajan told ET.

SJM pointed out that a large number of ‘emerging corporates’, including tech companies, e-commerce companies or giant foreign software companies were not paying taxes. It has recommended that large foreign software firms like Google be taxed on the basis of their income and ecommerce firms be brought under the tax net through a MAT module.

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