The government should use the cess proceeds and publish an annual account of how they have been spent. Examine.
The season of filing tax returns enumerates the accountability of the private sector towards the government. The season also brings to light the sense of accounting and accountability for the citizens. Thus, the same principles need to be applied to the working of the government. A specific area of social accounting of the education cess which is a mandatory contribution made by all the taxpayers.
The cess is put on the tax payable and not on the income which is taxable. For the taxpayer, it is just equal to an extra surcharge on tax. Cess can be put on both direct and indirect taxes. A cess is not like a tax and is levied for a particular purpose and the proceeds cannot be spent on just any kind of government expenditure. The proceeds of all the taxes and cesses are added to the Consolidated Fund of India or CFI. Latter comprises all the receipts, expenditures, borrowing and lending. All the details of the CFI are published in the annual Union Budget Documents. The education cess has been increased to a figure of 4 percent in 2019 from merely 2 percent in 2004. Government needs to create a dedicated fund in order to utilise the cess completely. The fund has remained dormant as of March 2018. The government should utilise the cess proceeds immediately and not keep it under-utilised.
Topics: GS-III: Government Budgeting