Remember the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, which saw celebrities come out on the roads with brooms, making for good front page photos? A cleaner India is always a good idea, and the Abhiyan seems like a good initiative in that direction. But guess what? There’s now a new tax, applicable as of 15th November 2015, to fund the campaign called the Swachh Bharat Cess.
Here are 5 things you should know about this new tax that is making all services, from your mobile bills to your travel more expensive.
1. The cess implies a 0.5% increase in cost of services
On all services that come under the purview of the Service tax (including your telephone bills, insurance, travel, shopping, eating out, and even haircuts).
What this means is that 50 paisa of every 100 rupees spent on any service goes to the government as the Swachh Bharat tax.
2. It will be listed separately in the bill after service tax
This 50 paise is over and above the other 14 rupees (14%) on every 100 rupees that goes as service tax.
3. There is no Swachh Bharat Fund! The money collected merely goes into the fund which has all our other tax money.
The money collected through this tax will not go into a fund separately allotted for the Abhiyan, but instead into the Consolidated Fund of India, which has all other taxes collected by the government. This money may or may not be utilized for the purposes of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, after due appropriation made by the Parliament.
4. The Government expects to collect around Rs 10,000 crore from Swachh Bharat Cess in one year.
The mission is estimated to cost around 62,009 crore rupees, and 14,623 crore rupees will be borne by the Union Government.
5. The cess has been imposed for meeting the Prime Minister’s drive for sanitation and cleanliness.
The national campaign, covering 4041 statutory towns across India, aims to make the streets, roads and infrastructure clean by October 2, 2019, which happens to be Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary.
But fact is that the people of the country have been paying municipal taxes over the years to keep their environment clean and receive proper sanitation. The Swacch Bharat Tax is an additional burden on the citizens, because the municipal authorities are not doing their job!
Do you think it’s justified to tax us separately for providing cleanliness & sanitation?