Budget 2021: Govt Mulls Introducing COVID Cess To Fund Pandemic Expenditure

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New Delhi: The Union government may impose a new cess or surcharge to fund expenditure incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Developing vaccines and the process of rolling it out in a country of 130 billion entails enormous amount of spending. Ever since the coronavirus pandemic broke in March, the Narendra Modi-headed government has had to spend huge amount of money in different sectors.

According to a report in Economic Times, the Centre has already held talks on the possibility of revenue-raising measures. A final decision is likely to be taken in the next couple of weeks with an announcement expected during the Union Budget on February 1.

The Centre has hinted that it could bear the cost of COVID-19 vaccination of several identified sections of society, if not the entire population. The vaccination programme, set to be rolled out on January 16, may cost around Rs 60,000-65,000 crore.

The government will have to find a way to fund this additional expenditure. At the same time, a decision to impose a cess may not go down well with industry leaders as they have suggested that no new taxes should be levied as the economy is under severe stress following the prolonged coronavirus-induced lockdown last year.

Also Read: Union Budget To Be Presented On February 1

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