News > Indian News

Has Congress Promised 'Wealth Redistribution' In Manifesto? A Fact Check

New Delhi: 

A huge political row has broken out over senior Congress leader Sam Pitroda's remarks on inheritance tax with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claiming that this was a sign that the party, if voted to power, will redistribute the wealth of Indians. Mr Pitroda's example of an inheritance tax in the US added fuel to the fire that the Congress has been trying to douse since Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the issue at a rally two days ago.

While Congress distanced itself from the remarks, Mr Pitroda also issued a clarification today saying that he was just expressing his views on the inheritance tax in the US.

"It is unfortunate that what I said as an individual on inheritance tax in the US is twisted to divert attention from what lies PM is spreading about Congress manifesto," Mr Pitroda said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

The BJP has targeted the Congress claiming that the party's manifesto promises to seize and redistribute the wealth of Indians, a charge it denies.

"This is what the Congress manifesto says. They will take stock of the gold that (our) mothers and sisters have, they will count and assess it, and then they will distribute that wealth, and they will give it to those people that Dr Manmohan Singh's government had said – that Muslims have the first right to the nation's wealth," PM Modi said.

Does the Congress manifesto promise to redistribute wealth?  

In its manifesto for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress makes several statements regarding income inequality, India's wealth, people belonging to economically weak sections, and the allocation of government land and resources.

"Congress will conduct a nationwide Socio-Economic and Caste Census to enumerate the castes and sub-castes and their socio-economic conditions. Based on the data, we will strengthen the agenda for affirmative action," says one of the points in the manifesto, called the 'Nyay Patra'.

In another point, the Congress says "The economic empowerment of minorities is a necessary step for India to realise its full potential. We will ensure that banks will provide institutional credit to minorities without discrimination."

But nowhere in their manifesto does the Congress claim that it will seize the wealth from the rich and distribute it among the poor. The party has promised a caste census to gather data, and accordingly implement affirmative action policy. Rahul Gandhi has called the census an 'X-ray' of India which the party believes will aid them in policy making.

The party's manifesto adds that it will "address the growing inequality of wealth and income through suitable changes in policies."

The manifesto also mentions "first charge" on resources in a point under the 'Welfare' section. It mentions that India has "nearly 22 crore people who are poor," and under their governance, "the welfare of the poor will be the first charge on all government resources." But it makes no statements regarding surveying gold owned by Indian women or about restributing the 'surveyed' wea

What Did Sam Pitroda Say

Sam Pitroda, chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress, said that India should discuss bringing a policy similar to the inheritance tax where the government takes 55 per cent of a person's wealth after his death.

"If a person has property worth US dollars 10 million, then after his death, 45 per cent of the property goes to his children and 55 per cent of the property goes to the government," Mr Pitroda told ANI and added that there is no such law in India.

"Such issues should be discussed. We are talking about policies that are in the interest of the people, not just the rich," he added.

It is worth pointing out that the US does not have a federal inheritance tax. In some states, such as Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, inherited assets are taxed. The payable tax depends on the amount of the inheritance and the relationship to the dead. This tax is only applied above a certain threshold and can go up to nearly 20 per cent of the inheritance.

What The Congress Say

Several Congress leaders have come out and clarified that there are no plans of 'seizing and redistributing' wealth if they are voted to power in the 2024 elections. The party has also filed a complaint with the Election Commission, highlighting PM Modi's speech.  

But Sam Pitroda's recent remarks have forced the party into firefighting mode saying that the comments do not reflect the party's policies

"Mr. Pitroda's views always reflect the position of the Indian National Congress. Many times they do not," Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said in a tweet.

BJP's Fresh Attack

Leading the BJP's attack over senior Congress leader Sam Pitroda's comments, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today alleged that the Opposition party plans to tax inheritance passed down from parents to their children.

Addressing a poll rally at Chhattisgarh's Surguja, the Prime Minister said the Congress's "dangerous intentions are coming out in the open".

"The wealth you accumulate with your hard work won't pass down to your children. The Congress's hand will snatch it. The Congress's mantra is 'loot during your lifetime, loot after your death'," PM Modi said.

Source: NDTV

indian mirror



Article comments

Leave a Reply