New Delhi | Jagran Business Desk: The Central government may introduce a coronavirus cess or surcharge on individual taxpayers in the Union Budget 2021 slated to be announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1.

Quoting a source aware of the matter, the Economic Times reported that the government has discussed the said proposal in a bid to fund the additional spending necessitated by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. The preliminary talks centred around a introducing small on high income earners, the report said.  

The Centre may add a cess to excise on petroleum and diesel on top of custom duties as well. The financial decision on the same was due to be taken in days leading up to the budget presentation.

In a bid to boost the revenue stream at the time of the pandemic, several states across the country had introduced COVID cess. On May 5, last year, the Delhi government had imposed 70 per cent 'special Corona fee' on liquor in a bid to boost the revenue. Later in July, the Jharkhand government had levied a cess of Rs 10 on every tonne of coal dispatched and Rs 5 a tonne on iron ore. Tata steel had moved the Supreme Court against the state government's move. 

All eyes will be on the Finance Minister as she will present the eighth budget of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government at a time when the economy is reeling under the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Several sections were hit hard by the pandemic-induced lockdowns and therefore hold high expectations from this year's budget. Tax concessions remain the primary expectations for citizens, however, experts believe that the government is likely to keep the existing tax slabs intact and instead expected to enhance the Income Tax deduction limit under section 80C of the IT act from the current Rs 1.5 lakhs to Rs 2.5- 3 lakhs in the forthcoming budget. 

Posted By: Lakshay Raja