Friday, 21 January 2011

MCD apparently believes - Don't penalise evaders, Reward loot

In today's newspaper, the advertisement by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi has highlighted waiver of interest and no penalty payable by defaulters in respect of property tax not paid by them in the past.
But why are the defaulters being given this benefit? Who has given MCD the right to reward those who have not paid their dues? The scheme is applicable from 2004. A quick estimate is that money in bank Fixed Deposits doubles in 6-7 years, as such against say Rs 1000 paid in 2004, the house owner would now have to pay only approx Rs 500 as property tax. And if all subsequent years are added, the gain is huge indeed.Why is this benefit being extended to only those who are irresponsible, who have been freely availing the benefits of say street lighting, drainage, horticulture, sweeping of roads and pavements etc. etc., i.e. why give benefits only to the freeloaders?
What reward is MCD giving to those house owners who have regularly and sincerely being paying their property tax? Are they being exempt from future tax?  MCD officials would surely be shocked out of their wits by such an idea and could come up with a hundred and one reasons why the honest should be penalised to allow the freeloaders to make merry.

MCD's advertisement has been wrongly worded. It should have read something like this:

Don't pay your property tax when it is due, and definitely not when it is overdue. Wait. Relax. You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain. A very long time later, might even be several years later we will come back with a scheme to your advantage. Till then, eat the fruits of those foolish enough to pay tax within what we call "the due date". Others have sown, you should reap. For now,

The Economic Times on their website editorial today headed “Tax amnesty: Penalise evaders, Don't reward loot” states:
The government is reportedly formulating an amnesty scheme to allow repatriation of black money stashed overseas. This is a bad idea and should be dropped. All the more reason, after the Supreme Court’s observation that “the government was wrong in treating black money as a tax issue when it was simple and pure plunder of the Indian economy” .  Amnesty schemes are morally corrosive as they offer relief to evaders, but penalise honest tax payers.

I hope the newspapers will take cognisance of this advertisement - MCD hase already gone ahead with that which the Government is still reportedly formulating.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Does our country recognise success

Lets see what this country does if you become successful. When you earn less you pay no tax. You earn more, you start to pay income tax. You earn still more, you not only pay more, you also pay at higher rates as Income tax rates go up the more you earn. The logic - you can afford it, so it is your responsibility. Socialism is a good word - but for how long will we continue living on the tag? Can we, as a country afford not to encourage success?
Let’s look at another way we discourage people from growing.
Tax rebates go down the more houses you are able to buy. And of course the bigger the house the more each organisation feels they can take off you – whether it is the property tax, RWA,  each help you try to keep at home.  Is anybody concerned with what they give in return for the higher amount they feel it is their right to take from you? Will the country NOT encourage me to do better and better, and contribute more and more? 
Why do we give value for non-performance? Why do we not mind having a mass of non-contributors, of free-loaders? Where is the score card for success? Does it matter to anybody in this country that I have not paid any income tax, or paid Rs 10,000 as tax or even Rs 1,00,000? Where is my contribution to the exchequer recorded? I have always learnt – with rights come responsibilities.  But is the reverse not true – with responsibilities, do not any rights come? Why not the right to be recognised as a contributory member of society?  Perhaps we could also have a graded recognition, a points earned record, a percentile ranking, a scorecard, redeemable against recognitions, say invites to local or larger gatherings, a voice in decision making.
Or would the contributors continue to remain only value-less contributors? Is it not time that we made efforts to make free loaders feel ashamed and contributors feel a sense of pride? Is it not time to encourage freeloaders to become contributors?

Monday, 17 January 2011

Media and Demolition of religious structures

Some days back demolition of two religious structures took place in Delhi, and these were reported in the Newspapers. Got a message from an ex-colleague of mine, which started of basically like this:

1.  DDA demolished an illegal 12 yr old, 20 ft mosque on High court order in Jangpura,Delhi, result-Violent mob, anti national sermons, stone pelting, curfew, damaged buses, cars, Tear gases, thousand armed policemen spectators, traumatised citizens,  CM, MLAs, Mulayam on the feet of belligerent Imam, Namaz at the demolished site, temporary structure erected, CM pledges to rebuilt mosque.

2. CPWD razed a 30 year old, 70 sqr yard temple and God idols with Bulldozers in Pushp vihar, Delhi on 'Religious committee' orders, result--broken idols in scattered debris, crying pujari, stunned and mum citizens, no protest, no slogans, no policemen, no politician,

I wonder - We tend to blame politicians but what was the media coverage on these two demolitians - which grabbed bigger headlines? Why?
Did the media fulfil its role of being impartial? If it had, would the public and the mob have reacted differently? Would the protests on the demolition of the mosques have been less? Maybe, just maybe, the focus would have shifted out from the word “mosque” to “demolition”. And, just maybe, the fact that illegal structures are treated as illegal structures would have emerged.  Maybe the mob and the politicians could then have woken up to their responsibility of showing that there is no discrimination in the name of religion. Maybe no stone pelting, no damaging of vehicles, no violence.  Maybe.  Just maybe.