'Sleeping partner cannot answer': Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman's response at BSE event sparks controversy and jokes

'sleeping partner cannot answer': finance minister nirmala sitharaman's response at bse event sparks controversy and jokes

'Sleeping partner cannot answer': Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman's response at BSE event sparks controversy and jokes

NEW DELHI: Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman was a topic of discussion among the opposition leaders and the public after she appeared to be stumped by a question asked by a stock broker regarding taxes.

The question asked was: "As a broker, when we are putting a trade for retail investor, we are attracting a number of taxes like CGST, IGST, stamp duty, STT, long term capital gain tax. So today, Centre is earning more than the broker. I am investing everything, I am taking all the risk but Centre is taking away entire profit of mine. You are my sleeping partner, I am a working partner with my finance, my risk my staff everything, so what do you want to say on this?"

He then continued with a second question: "Today, if anybody wants to buy a house in Mumbai it is a nightmare because I am paying tax as I have white money. Now we have to pay everything by cheque. So my bank balance is purely after paying all taxes to government of India again when I am buying a house, I have to pay stamp duty, I have to pay GST, it amounts to 11%. In a city like Mumbai, when I am buying a house, 11% goes out of my pocket towards purchase of house. So how you will assist a small person with limited resources to buy a house and how can a broker can function with lots of taxes where government of India is my sleeping partner and I am a working partner with no income?"

The finance minister initially skipped the question saying, "I have no answer for that", but then gave a short cryptic reply: "A sleeping partner cannot answer sitting here".

Though the response got a round of laughs at the event, the Congress attacked the finance minister for her reply: "The public is troubled by taxes. The ministers of the Modi government are smiling."

The general public also questioned the finance minister and heavily criticised her for her response.

Some made fun of her response on social media with a user on X (formerly Twitter) posting, "You have a good question, but your question hurt me".

Nirmala Sitharaman was speaking at the BSE's Viksit Bharat event on Tuesday where Sitharaman had asked the major stock exchanges to work with Sebi to ensure stringent compliance with robust regulatory standards to further investor confidence. "Any unchecked explosion in trading of retail futures & options can create future challenges, not just for the markets and investor sentiment but also for household savings that have made the generational shift," she said at the event.

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