New Delhi, November 16:
Indian finance minister P Chidambaram today ruled out an income tax on the 75 million tribal population, who are exempt from such levies, saying he was not interested in triggering a controversy.
â€œThis a historical matter. There have been numerous debates on this,â€ the finance minister told the three-day long economic editors conference here, when asked if the government proposed to withdraw the income tax exemption on tribals.
â€œWe need to study this in detail. I donâ€™t want to start another controversy,â€ Chidambaram said, adding there could also be no provisions to ask the tribals to file their returns, even if they continue to be exempt from income tax. Indiaâ€™s 75 million tribals, spread across 573 tribes, constitute eight percent of the countryâ€™s population of 1.1 billion. The FM also shared his views on regional disparities, especially the non-commensurate prog-ress in the north-eastern states and said, â€œThe problem is of deficit of governance.â€ He said that while funds were being provided adequately to the states, the implementation and targeting of various schemes we-re proving to be bottlenecks.