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Tax agriculture

NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy and Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian have been favouring tax on agricultural income. IE has been advocating this for long. The exemption for agriculture has been resulting in prosperous business sections acquiring agricultural assets (land to a great extent) and often use this for manipulating tax returns. Jayalalithaa, for instance, had shown in her affidavits in the disproportionate assets case, huge incomes coming from her orchards in Andhra Pradesh. 

Just look at the pathetic state of tax payments: hardly around three crore, of the 126 crore population, file tax returns. Of this less than half, around 1.5 crore, pay income tax. One notices large sections of land-owning gentry merrily showing losses on agricultural operations; it is so difficult to keep track of the income and expenditure on such transactions.  Of course, agriculture being a state subject taxing it is under the jurisdiction of the states and since the farming community is a significant constituent of the vote bank, state governments are wary of taxing this sector. 

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