Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said that the 10 per cent tax levied on Long Term Capital Gains alone will fund both the hike in farmers' minimum support prices and the ambitious National Health Protection Scheme targeted at 10 crore poor, vulnerable families.
Replying to questions from Rajat Sharma in India TV Budget Conclave telecast tonight, Jaitley said, "It was a wrong notion that small investors will be hit by LTCG tax. Ïn reality, there were foreign financial institutions and large corporates who were gaining from LTCG. Last year alone, the profit made from LTCG was Rs 3,67,000 crore, and this was exempted from tax. This year, we have imposed 10 pc tax, and this alone can fund both the MSP hike and national medical insurance scheme."
Jaitley said, "Those who are rich and affluent should help the poor. Our Prime Minister has the knack of taking difficult decisions, and demonetization was one such decision. I know there are risks in it, but such difficult decision has to be taken."
On former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram's remark that the healthcare scheme was "a jumla", Jaitley said, "Ï will not like to react to what the Congress leader says. After 70 years, we have come up with an ambitious healthcare scheme targeted at 40 per cent poor families. During the NITI Aayog Public Health presentation given to us before the budget, it was proposed to make it universal, but we decided to take the initial step with 10 crore poor, vulnerable families. The cost component could range from Rs 6-7,000 crore to Rs 10,000 crore. In a Rs 24-25 lakh crore budget, I have kept aside Rs 2,000 crore for this scheme and shall provide more funds when necessary. "
We aim to become the fastest growing economy in the world, which is why we have started thinking about building the best healthcare institutes, says @arunjaitley at India TV Samvaad #BudgetWithIndiaTV pic.twitter.com/VB3GTJJcle— India TV (@indiatvnews) February 2, 2018
Asked about the availability of hospitals for implementing the health care scheme, Jaitley said, "Mostly Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities have large number of hospitals, but districts need 400-500 bed hospitals. Once the funding mechanism is decided, we hope others would come forward. This is 'sewa' (service) and 'vyavsay'(business) both. This scheme will be implemented with the help of state governments."
Jaitley reminded that the GST Council was a model of cooperative federalism, where both the Centre and States sit together and decide taxation rates. "We will similarly implement Agriculture, Healthcare and Social Welfare in cooperation with the state".