Home CATEGORIES Business Ethics & Philanthropy The Unsafe Road: IRF Bats For wp Tax Benefits

The Unsafe Road: IRF Bats For wp Tax Benefits


AS Finance Minister Arun Jaitley prepares to present the much-awaited Union Budget, the first directional document of the Modi Government, demands are being made to provide tax benefits for all wp activities. The latest to join the bandwagon is the International Road Federation, a non-profit international advocacy organisation aimed at improving road networks. In a communication  to the  Finance Minister, the federation has demanded 100 percent tax exemption for corporate houses, NGOs, industry, individuals and even the media investments in its road safety programmes.

“We have requested the finance minister to extend 100 percent income tax exemption for road safety investments from the present 50 percent on the lines of concessions extended under provision of Section 82 of the proposed Direct Tax Code for incentives to companies,” said K.K Kapadia, Chairman of IRF, in a statement issued in New Delhi


cover_cycleWhile most high income countries give road safety a high priority, developing countries like India are far behind in developing an overall infrastructure for road safety provisions and carrying out institutionalized road safety awareness campaign and programmes. Some experts suggest that in the given condition, India needs to spend about 4 percent of its road and infrastructure budget on awareness campaigns, in order to reach the global standards.

According to  data released by National Crime Record  Bureau.  3,94,982 accidental deaths were reported in the country during 2012 , while in 2011 this number was 1% less  at 3,90,940 accidental deaths. At present, the situation is even graver with more than 300 people losing their lives on the roads every day. Road safety, many believe, needs to be put on priority but also requires a lot of infrastructural investment along with training and awareness.

As of now, the Section 80 G of Income Tax Act provides tax deductions for certain kind of donations to both individuals and companies. Section 35 AC provides deduction on certain Capital Expenditures that includes payment of any sum to Public Sector Company, a Local Authority, an Institution or Association approved by National Committee to carry out social & economic welfare schemes / programmes. [/learn_more]


p-chidambaramFormer finance minister P. Chidambaram had taken a strong view on giving tax benefits for wp activities. In the revised draft Direct Tax Code Bill, he had  observed that allowing deduction for wp expenditure would imply the government would be contributing one-third of this expenditure as revenue foregone. But contrary to Chidambaram’s views, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, headed by BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, in its report on DTC bill had recommended tax benefit for wp expenditure in backward regions and districts.