West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee Tuesday hit out the BJP-led Centre for bringing Durga Puja committees under the purview of Income tax department.
Lashing out at BJP, Banerjee said, “When election comes, they do Hindu-Muslim. When election comes, they do this side & that side. Festival is a festival. I will just say one thing that some party use fund for elections and that is not under Income Tax.”
Arguing that the puja committees cannot be taxed, Banerjee said, “If Durga Puja Committees do puja, it should not come under Income Tax. This is donation given by public. I condemn this attitude of bringing puja committees under Income Tax,” she said.
“The way they are being harassed, I am feeling sad,” added the Trinamool chief.
Durga Puja Committees Forum reportedly received an Income Tax notice last week, asking them to file returns on its expenses during the festival.
Mamata said that her government paid an honorarium of Rs 10,000 to the community Durga Puja organisers last year since it has a social obligation to support community programmes and plans to do the same this year.
In January this year, the Kolkata branch of IT Department had served notices to at least 40 big budget and prominent Durga pujas of Kolkata to file their TDS and also disclose the source of donation collection. Banerjee, at the time, had asked the committees to remain united and not appear before the IT Department.
Now, they have not spared the Durga pujas too. They are scaring the puja committees through notices from the Income Tax. Durga Puja committees are non-profit organisations. They do not make any profits by celebrating the pujas. Hence, this does not fall in the ambit of Income Tax. Citizens here contribute to the pujas and the central government does not help them with a single penny," said Banerjee.