Indian Govt will Impose a Swachh Bharat Cess at the Rate of 0.5% on all ServicesAll services, including air travel, telephony, eating out and banking will become expensive from November 15 as the government on Friday decided to impose a 0.5 per cent cess on all taxable services to fund the Swachh Bharat programme. The additional cess would be over and above the 14 per cent Service Tax rate which is already being levied. Government decides to impose a Swachh Bharat Cess at the rate of 0.5% on all services presently liable to service tax, with effect from 15th November 2015; Proceeds from this cess to be exclusively used for Swachh Bharat initiatives.
Swachh Bharat Cess is not another tax but a step towards involving each and every citizen in making contribution to Swachh Bharat. In this direction, the Government has decided to impose, with effect from 15th November 2015, a Swachh Bharat Cess at the rate of 0.5% on all services, which are presently liable to service tax. This will translate into a tax of 50 paisa only on every one hundred rupees worth of taxable services. The proceeds from this cess will be exclusively used for Swachh Bharat initiatives.
In the General Budget, 2015-16, a provision was made for levying a Swachh Bharat Cess on all or any of the services, for the purposes of financing and promoting Swachh Bharat initiatives or for any other purpose relating thereto.
We are a country of more than 120 crore people. For such a vast and populous country we do have our fair share of cleanliness concerns. In fact, persons entrusted with the job of keeping our country clean, struggle constantly. Ceanliness also has huge impact on public health. Dirty surrocundings also cause many diseases, like, malaria, dengue, diarrhea, jaundice, cholera etc., with associated high public health expenditure. According to the Government of India estimates, expenditure on health adds up to Rs.6,700 crore annually (approximately Rs.60 per capita). Increased allocation for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan can prevent many of these diseases with consequential benefit to one and all.
Study by American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene reveals that between 2006 and 2012, India reported an annual average of 20,474 dengue cases, with direct medical cost of about Rs.3500 crore per annum.