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TMC’s Jawhar Sircar caught sharing UPA-era post on service tax on healthcare to target PM Modi and FM Sitharaman

Jawhar Sircar is a habitual fake news peddler who resorts to sharing misleading information to target PM Modi and his government.

On February 25, Trinamool Congress’s Rajya Sabha MP Jawhar Sircar shared an open letter by Dr Devi Shetty of Narayana Hridayalaya where he had called service tax on healthcare ‘misery tax’. Sircar wrote in the post, “Agree fully with Dr Devi Shetty that Modi-Nirmala’s service tax on health services will devastate the middle class and poor. Withdraw this tax!”

TMC’s Jawhar Sircar shared an open letter from 2011 to target PM Modi and FM Sitharaman. Source: Twitter

In the letter published as an advertisement in the newspapers, Dr Devi Shetty opposed a proposed service tax of 5 per cent on healthcare in the budget. Calling it a ‘misery tax’, Dr Shetty had called people to assemble at the Governor’s house of each state at 11 AM on March 12 with a petition to roll back the tax.

While Sircar targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in his post, the Rajya Sabha MP failed to do a simple fact check before jumping the guns. When OpIndia looked for the image he used, we found multiple reports dating back to March 2011 that had the same image. One of the reports noted that the open letter was issued by Dr Shetty criticising the tax on healthcare provided by private hospitals.

Furthermore, we found that in 2011, then-Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee proposed imposing a 5 per cent health care tax on hospitals with over 25 beds and amenities like Air Conditioning. Soon after the proposal, nationwide criticism from the healthcare industry was reported. Notably, as per reports from 2011, Dr Shetty also met then-FM Mukherjee and urged him to withdraw the proposed tax.

Following the flak received by the then-Indian government, the proposed tax was rolled back. In a statement, Dr Shetty said, “I am happy that the finance minister has decided to roll back the service tax. I met the FM two weeks ago and at that time he was of the view that the tax would hurt the common man and he would like to do something about it.”

It is noteworthy that Service Tax was merged into GST. That means no separate Service Tax is imposed on anything.

To summarise, a service tax on Healthcare was proposed by FM Mukherjee in the 2011 budget. After backlash, it was withdrawn by the government. The post that Sircar shared has the clipping of an open letter Dr Shetty wrote in 2011. Thus, Sircar’s post is misleading.

Jawhar Sircar and fake news go hand-in-hand

This is not the first time Sircar published fake news. In September 2022, two photographs of PM Modi went viral, where those who published the tweets claimed PM Modi was shooting with a lens cover on. While one photograph was with a lens filter, and people got it confused with a lens cap, in another photograph, someone went ahead and added a lens cap. However, the person who did it was not aware that the Canon lens cap would not fit a Nikon lens. Sircar had shared the latter one and deleted the tweet once he got exposed by netizens.

In June 2021, Sircar published a heavily-edited photograph of PM Modi to insinuate that he goes out of his way to be polite to ‘his friends’. Sircar tweeted, “Wish fellow parliamentarians and others in politics also received such courtesy and bonhomie — from their permanently-scowling PM. In a mature democracy, we would know the two-way relationship, favors, and transactions. Some day, history will tell us,” with an image of PM Modi bowing down politely to Nita Ambani, wife of Reliance Group chief Mukesh Ambani. The image was, however, fake and photoshopped.

In December 2021, Sircar shared a doctored video to suggest that PM Modi and Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath were greeted with anti-Modi and anti-Yogi slogans during the inauguration ceremony of the Kashi Viswanath Corridor. He was called out by the netizens who published the original video of residents cheering for PM Modi and CM Yogi.

Again in December 2021, Jawhar Sircar went on a rant over the price of the modified Mercedes-Maybach 650 used by PM Modi. He tried to assert that a state-of-the-art car is not used for fortifying the security of the head of the state but for satisfying the vanity of PM Modi. Contrary to what he said, the armoured vehicle is for the post of India’s Prime Minister and not for the person who is currently occupying the post. The Prime Minister is not going to inherit the car when he retires from public office or when he is replaced by another one.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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