‘No answer to that,’ says Union FM Nirmala Sitharaman on stock broker’s question on tax system

The broker questioned Sitharaman over the taxation system of the Union government, terming it as his “sleeping partner”.

BySouth First Desk

Published May 16, 2024 | 3:27 PMUpdatedMay 16, 2024 | 3:27 PM

Nirmala Sitharaman. (X)

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is facing backlash over her response to a query by a stock broker during a programme organised by the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on 14 May.

The broker questioned Sitharaman over the taxation system of the Union government, terming it as his “sleeping partner”.

According to him, after successfully performing a trade the government earns more money than the brokers through a variety of taxes and cess.

On questioning the finance minister over how the government would assist the brokers in navigating the taxation system, Sitharamana evaded the question saying, “Sorry, I have no answer to the question. A sleeping partner cannot answer that sitting here.”

People on social media slammed the Union minister’s response saying she had no answer for a genuine question.

Also Read: India needs intensive action on economy, not policy paralysis: Sitharaman

The question and the answer

During a session organised by the BSE, the broker highlighted the tax burden imposed on the people of India, especially on brokers, and how the government earns “a lot” from various taxes, including GST, IGST, Stamp Duty, Securities Transaction Tax (STT), and Long-Term Capital Gains (LTCG) Tax.

“Today the government of India is earning more than the broker. So I am investing everything, I am taking a whole lot of risk and the government of India is taking away my entire profit. You are my sleeping partner, I am a working partner with my finance, my risk, my staff, everything,” the broker said.

He also added that over and above all these taxes, people have to pay taxes even when they buy a house.

Highlighting the tax burden he asked, “ How will you assist us small people with limited resources to buy a house and how can a broker function with hoards of taxes where the government of India is my sleeping partner and I am a working partner with no income?”

The finance minister, however, laughed off the question without giving any answer.

(Edited by Muhammed Fazil)