Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee often says in close quarters that he wants to do away with the various tax exemptions.
Last night, resting at his South Kolkata residence, Indian crickets lucky Finance Minister (he was the FM in 1983), however, promptly thought of doing the opposite: to give income tax exemptions to Team India for its World Cup win.
The Centre is likely to give a 100 per cent income tax relief on the prize money, the players and the support staff earn from their World Cup victory.
Soon after India won the World Cup final, defeating Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called his top colleagues including Mukherjee, to share his happiness while UPA chairperson, Sonia Gandhi interacted with the aam aadmi on the streets of New Delhi. The finance minister took the opportunity to mention his plan for the tax relief.
Mukherjee has not only taken the outstanding success of the team and the public mood into consideration, but the conservative minister also noted the precedence he had set, when Finance Minister in the Indira Gandhi cabinet. And the Indian team had won the World Cup in 1983.
I had given tax relief that time as well on the prize money. This time, we may take a view on it, Mukherjee told Business Standard from his Kolkata residence.
In the middle of this week, after India beat Pakistan to enter the final, Mukherjee piloted a proposal to give Rs 45 crore of tax waiver to the International Cricket Council on the World Cup matches hosted in India.
According to the finance ministry officials, as the issue was controversial, Mukherjee decided to take it to the cabinet for an endorsement. The proposal to give tax benefit for Team India is expected to face full support and a formal announcement is likely to come after Mukherjee returns to Delhi on Tuesday.