Old Letter Opposing Service Tax on Healthcare Shared as Recent

Dr Devi Shetty spoke against levying five percent service tax on healthcare in 2011.

2 min read
Hindi Female

A letter talking about a 'misery tax', mentioning that the central government has proposed a five percent service tax on healthcare in the recent budget, is going viral.

What about the letter?: The letter is attributed to Dr Devi Shetty of Narayana Health. It asks people to assemble on 12 March near the governor's house of every state to protest against the tax.

Who all shared it?: Surjya Kanta Mishra, a Polit Bureau Member of Communist Party of India (Marxist), shared the letter. Indian filmmaker Rakesh Sharma also shared it.

(Swipe right to view all claims.)

  • An archive of the post can be found here.

    (Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

(More archives can be found here, and here.)

Are these claims true?: No, the letter dates back to 2011 when then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee spoke about levying five percent service tax on healthcare in his budget speech.

  • No such proposal of implementing taxes on healthcare services was made in the recent budget. Read our coverage here.

What led us to the truth?: A report published on Bangalore Mirror in March 2011 led us to the letter written by Shetty.

  • The content was similar to the viral letter.

  • Shetty was speaking against the implementation of a five percent service tax on healthcare, which was put forth by the government in the Union Budget 2011-12.

  • It also carried statements of other doctors from different hospitals who opposed the government's proposal.

Reviewing the 2011-12 budget: We looked through Mukherjee's budget speech and found that he had proposed a five percent service tax on hospitals with 25 or more beds and have the facility of central air-conditioning. It was also extended to diagnostic services.

Dr Devi Shetty spoke against levying five percent service tax on healthcare in 2011.

The proposal could be found on page number 32 of his speech.

(Source: India Budget gov /Screenshot/Altered by The Quint)

To find out the truth behind the letter, The Quint reached out to Nagaraja Pani, Program Manager in Chairman's [Devi Prasad Shetty] office, Narayana Healthcare.

  • He confirmed that Shetty and other healthcare workers had opposed the central government's proposal in 2011.

Further, we looked for the viral letter but did not find the same one in the public domain.

However, we came across an interview of Shetty with CNBC, where he can be heard discussing about the service tax. The left side of the video shows a letter reportedly written by him.


Proposal eventually withdrawn: Mukherjee rolled back the service tax in March 2011, following protests and concerns around it. The decision was welcomed by several people from the healthcare industry.

Conclusion: The letter talks about the service tax introduced by the central government in 2011 and is not related to the recent budget.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read Latest News and Breaking News at The Quint, browse for more from news and webqoof

Topics:  Central Government   Fact Check   Webqoof 

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More