Tax scrutiny: climate of trust needed

I voice my deep anguish over certain points in the recent Action Plan of the Central Board of Direct Taxes for procedure for selection of cases for scrutiny for non-corporate assessees for 2006-07. In this plan, two categories of cases are listed to be compulsory scrutinised:

One, all cases in which fresh capital introduced during the year exceeds Rs 1 crore in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Ahmedabad and Rs.10 lakh in other cities. And two, all cases in which new loans introduced during the year exceeds Rs 1 crore in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Ahmedabad and Rs 10 lakh in other cities.

The two instructions are a part of the wrong decisions taken by the Finance Ministry which creates an atmosphere of mistrust between the Income Tax Department and assessee. When even a small business is started or expanded, a fresh capital of Rs 10 lakh and/or a bank loan of the same amount is inevitable and raised. These instructions will hit small assessees. Scrutiny cases will increase and the I-T Department would not be able to tackle the workload.

These instructions should be withdrawn to save the honest taxpayers from official harassment. The Board should show faith on the assessee who shows the introduction of capital/loan in his return of income. The Finance Ministry should try to detect undisclosed assets and widen the tax base by introducing more schemes like Annual Information Return and Banking Transaction Tax.

C.A. VIPUL ARORA, Amritsar




Why check Service Chiefs?

According to a TV channel report, all the three Service Chiefs are liable for security check at airports. According to this channel, only 21 people are exempted from such checks. These include the President, the Vice-President, the Prime Minister, the United Progressive Alliance Chairperson, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, her two children and son-in-law.

If the report were to bear scrutiny, subjecting the three Service Chiefs to such checks, certainly, brings disgrace not only to themselves but the defence services as a whole. The Service Chiefs are custodians of the country’s security and integrity. They plan and handle all top secret operational plans. They have been fighting the proxy war with Pakistan for a long time.

Still, it is surprising how the Intelligence Bureau and the Union Ministry of Home Affairs did not deem it fit to exempt the Service Chiefs from checking at the airports.

Lieut-Col A.S. BHINDER (retd), Mohali

Check litigation

In his letter “Time to check litigation” (June 27), Dr A.L. Adlakha rightly pointed out how lapses at the administrative level give rise to undue increase in litigation. Clearly, harassment of the general public and government employees, on the one hand, and wastage of public money and precious time, on the other, can be avoided with proper planning.

Whenever the government loses a case in the court, responsibility should be fixed on the erring employee and all costs should be recovered from him/her. This will cut down the backlog of cases in the courts as also corruption to a great extent.

J.I. SINGH BINDRA, Jalandhar City

Cell phone blues

Three/four digit landline telephone numbers are not connected from mobile phones. As a result, the mobile phone users cannot get in touch with essential services like Railway enquiry, fire services, hospitals, police control room, telephone enquiry/ complaint cell of BSNL land line services etc. This is a major shortcoming for the mobile phone customers.

The service providers of mobile phone companies should, therefore, provide the facility of connecting three/four digit numbers by charging normal call rates.

S.S. UTREJA, Nangal Township

Onus on Hezbollah

The Tribune editorial Lebanon on fire (July 20) criticises the Israeli military operation in Lebanon for being disproportionate. There are many who think that proportionate use of force means that the casualties on both sides should be more or less equal. This is not the case.

Article 57(2) of the Additional Protocol defines what is excessive force, by demanding that parties refrain from incidental damage to civilians which “would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated”. In other words, the proportionality must be measured, in each case, in relation to importance of the specific military objective and generally in terms of the extent of the threat (13,000 rockets and missiles that the Hezbollah amassed).  

With regard to the number of civilian casualties in Lebanon, Israeli Defence Forces are not targeting civilians. Hezbollah deliberately launch their rockets and place their weaponry in densely populated areas putting their own civilian population in line of fire. Hezbollah should, therefore, be held accountable for the human cost of their tactics.

Israel, on its part, regret the loss of civilian life and property, and is committed to doing everything in its power to minimise it. Care is taken to reduce to a minimum the risk to which the population is exposed, often at the cost of operational advantages. For example, leaflets are dropped urging residents to avoid Hezbollah installations, or to vacate sites of intended Israeli military operations.

As regards the eventual political and diplomatic solution, there are no substantive differences between the position in Israel and the international community manifested in the statement issued by the G-8, which calls for the full implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559 demanding the dismantling of Hezbollah and asserting the authority of the Government of Lebanon over its entire national territory.

The diffusion of this crisis can take place instantly with a complete halt to the Hezbollah firing of rockets against Israeli towns and the unconditional return of the Israeli abducted soldiers.

MICHAL GUR-ARYEH, Spokesperson, Embassy of Israel, New Delhi



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