|M A I L B A G||
Wednesday, December 15, 1999
Are these VIPs above law?
One is appalled at the vulgar and ostentatious expenditure incurred in the weddings of the children of ministers, VIPs and others even after the Dras-Kargil conflict and the cyclonic disaster in Orissa.
There used to be a Guest Control Order some time ago which seems to have been forgotten or has not been renewed. It is time the government reissued the Guest Control Order limiting the number of guests at weddings, receptions, etc, to 100 to 200 at the most and enforced it scrupulously and rigorously.
It is important that the ministers, political leaders and VIPs set an example as this malaise is spreading fast to all sections of society, even in the rural areas.
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Reservation requires caution
The editorial Not by populism alone (December 7) has suggested that there is need to have a different approach for the uplift of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes.
When the Supreme Court has given a clear-cut interpretation/guideline for the implementation of various judgements, the Prime Minister has suggested to go for the amendment in the Constitution to undo the same. Perhaps he is in a hurry to do this to counter-check the effects of expulsion of Mr Kalyan Singh from the BJP. He is, perhaps, working on some tactic like the one Mr V.P. Singh adopted to settle scores with Mr Devi Lal.
Excess of everything is bad. By giving seniority along with first promotion, Karnataka have all the Chief Engineers and 80 per cent of the Superintending Engineers from the reserved categories.
No one generally resents the idea that the downtrodden classes should be given benefit in the matter of education and appointments, but accelerated seniority will disturb the whole structure. A cautious approach is needed in the matter.
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Code of conduct
It is quite laudable that the judges of our country have resolved to adopt a code of conduct. It would be more in the fitness of things if everybody who holds a public office should be made accountable to the people.
The norms proposed for the judiciary should also be made applicable to all the government servants and those in semi-government undertakings. All the MPs, MLAs and ministers should be made to adopt such a codes of conduct. They should declare their assets before fighting the elections and the assets thus declared should be made public so that the people can punish them by not electing them in the next elections if they are found collecting money and amassing assets through nefarious means.
The people at the helm of affairs should not delay the imposition of such codes. If these codes are properly implemented, it would be a great achievement for the country and would definitely help in the eradication of corruption.
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Lessening I-tax burden
Come December and there is a host of suggestions in various newspapers regarding an increase in the amount of standard deduction and a raise in the exemption limit for calculating income tax. These suggestions are mostly from the fixed salary class, the most sufferer from the existing cumbersome procedure for the assessment of income tax. Rather they are the only reliable source of income to the government as income tax is deducted at source by the employer.
The demand for a raise in the amount of standard deduction and the exemption limit is fully justified. However, if this demand is met, most of the employees will come out of the dragnet of income tax. Where will then money come from for development?
The answer to this question is simple. The government should tighten the belt of the Income Tax Department to efficiently recover income tax from the public. There are a few suggestions to be made, which, if adopted, can result in everybody paying income tax rather than burdening only a few persons. The suggestions are:
1. The system of standard deduction and the exemption limit should be dropped.
2. Everybody having income, howsoever small, must pay income tax.
3. The rate of income tax should be fixed, say 10 per cent of the annual wages (pay+special pay+DA). The maximum amount of income tax should be limited to one months wages and minimum to 15 days wages.
4. To encourage saving habit, a rebate in income tax at the rate of 20 per cent on savings in specified schemes as heretofore be continued. However, this rebate should be limited to an amount equal to one-third of the annual wages.
5. No allowance other than dearness allowance should be accounted for the levy of income tax.
6. All citizens should be motivated to pay income tax honestly and timely through electronic media which is very powerful these days.
7. Penalty for the non-payment of income tax should be at least five times the unpaid amount of the tax.
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Objectionable TV ad
This has reference to the advertisement on BREEZE soap in which, inter alia, a cap is thrown on the ground. So much so that a dog is seen carrying this cap in his mouth. This is grave disrespect to the Indian Navy. It would be better if this is deleted from the advertisement.
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