The government is reportedly considering imposing a cess or surcharge on taxes to at least part-finance the vaccination expenditure in the upcoming Budget. Given the state of the economy, most economic agents would not be in favour of higher tax liability. However, it's also true that in the given situation, with a significant increase in the deficit and public debt, the government will want to mobilise additional resources to minimise the wider macroeconomic implications of its finances.
In this context, our lead editorial notes that it makes sense for the government to impose a cess or surcharge to fund the vaccination programme. But it should be mindful of several issues in doing so.
Other opinion pieces for the day, among other things, talk about expectations from 2021, and BJP’s legislative agenda in states.
Fresh hopes on the economic, health and political front temper the grim legacy of 2020, writes Shankar Acharya
We have already seen the deleterious impact of cow slaughter bans in UP, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana over 2018 and 2019, where stray cattle rampaged through fields of standing crop. The projected long-term damage to milk production will soon be felt, writes Kanika Datta
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