119 years of Trust M A I L B A G THE TRIBUNE
Wednesday, December 29, 1999
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Direct tax reforms

IT is heartening to note that the Government of India has appointed a committee on direct tax reforms which is to submit its report within three months. One hopes that the committee will aim at

Simplifying and streamlining the extremely complicated tax laws being drafted, explained, added, substracted, amended and clarified in a most controversial and complicated manner. The long and voluminous documentation of various court decisions will also be made redundant to get rid of heavy overhead unproductive load upon business people, administration, advocates and professionals.

Reduce scope of future litigation and providing a mechanism of timely policy announcements by the board as a guideline on the matters relating to controversies that are generally generated either by assesses or assessing authorities.

Dividing the income tax operations into advance compliance regulated through CASH DISCOUNT, time compliance at full value and late compliance coupled with automatic interest.

TDS to be governed through incentives for honorary compliance.

Automatic adjustments of excess deposits against future tax liability/tax liability in other files of the same group members.

Stability of law for a fixed term of five years along with stability of rates.

Exemptions and deductions under various sections to be periodically upgraded on a five yearly basis including initial exemption.

Uniformity in tax rates in tax laws between corporate and non-corporate assessees with simplified procedure for conversion and reconversion of proprietorship into partnership or partnership into proprietorship or company or company into partnership or proprietorship without artificial tax liabilities.

If the committee decides to address itself on the aforesaid lines this government will do a wonderful job for the people of the country and will raise reasonable revenue year after year on increasing scale.

A questionnaire on the aforesaid lines need to be drafted by the committee and circulated among the people for giving their opinion on the same pattern as Boothlingam Committee did in the past. However, it is an undoubtedly an appreciable approach and confirms all dynamic qualities, timely progressive straightforward approach of the present government following the pattern of other countries of the world.


Year of civic amenities

Millennium mania is fast catching up with people. Big hotels and resorts are planning giant-sized celebrations costing Rs 25000 to Rs 70000 per couple. There are efforts to usher in the new millennium in some extraordinary way. “Do something different and exciting on the new millennium eve” is the latest phrase.

Of course the new millennium will arrive but will it stop choked sewers from forcing sullage on to roads? The answer is a big “no”. Sewage will continue to flow on roads. Dengue and malaria will continue to trouble people. Mild showers will flood the streets as usual. Pot-holes in the roads will not get filled. Death-traps on the highways and monsoon floods will continue to leave trails of misery. As usual, the conditions will tend to be ripe for epidemics in many parts of the country as the civic plans will go haywire.

The best thing to do now to welcome the new millennium is to declare Year 2000 as “year of civic amenities” and to draw elaborate plans to do something concrete in this direction. Let us welcome the millennium with a hope. A hope to have clean surroundings to live, potable water to drink, smooth roads to travel and fresh air to inhale. Let the public participation come to the fore and make the authorities feel a prick at their conscience. Let us get determined and devote next year to present a new, neat and clean India to the world.


Absence fine

Education and health are the departments on which the governments have to spend a lot of money. There is no financial gain to the governments from these departments. The rates of things have changed with the changing times. But the rates of absence fine have not been increased during the last many years in schools of Himachal Pradesh. The rate of absence fine is Re 0.10 up to class X and Re 0.25 in +1 and +2 classes. Very low rates of absence fine in the modern time have led to truancy among the students. They easily pay the amount of their absence fine out of their pocket-money. This never comes to the notice of the parents/guardians. In the present time, students of schools get pocket-money in the range Rs 5 to Rs 10.

The Government of Himachal Pradesh is making all-out efforts to spread education even in remotest areas of the state. Hundreds of schools are opened every year. There is shortage of accommodation in many of them. The people protest whenever the government raises the funds and fees. If the rates of absence fine are raised substantially in schools, none will protest. The amount of absence fine so collected can at best be used for constructing school buildings.

In genuine cases, the heads of schools can remit the absence fine. The rates of absence fine, in all fairness, should be raised to Rs 10 up to class X, and Rs 25 for +1 and +2 classes.

Besides being a source of income for schools, this will improve attendance in schools and also check truancy.

Bijhari (Hamirpar)

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Limited move

Your editorial “A limited move” (Dec. 21) was timely. The decision of the US Commerce Department to lift sanctions unilaterally on one-third entities of different companies/institutions is a feebly positive gesture of the US administration. The remaining entities, which the U.S. commerce department could not clear due to shortage of time, may be cleared before the actual visit of Mr Bill Clinton or during his stay in the country.

The US administration has planned the visit of Mr Clinton in such a way as to provide him the opportunity to discuss various issues concerning Indo-US friendship with the Prime Minister of India.

Since the US administration too has not managed agreement on the CTBT at home it is likely that they are awaiting nods from outside as to how their nuclear treaties will be treated by others in comparison to conventional treaties of others.

The Indian Government has announced and expressed a number of times that if the US administration extends one hand of friendship, we will hold it positively and sincerely.

Now the ball is in US court.

SAT PAL Sharma

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Train services

Kotkapura residents have been looking forward to the much needed expansion of train services after conversion of the metre gauge line to a broad one on the Fazilka-Rewari section. But the Railways authorities have put things in reverse gear firstly by removing the existing metre gauge line from the Kotkapura - Bathinda section instead of converting it into a broad gauge line and secondly by suspending the direct train between Fazilka-Rewari section running before gauge conversion.

Now there is no connecting train at Bathinda in the morning or evening for Rewari for the trains like 2 FKB, Fazilka-Bathinda reaches Bathinda at 6.10 and Bathinda- Bhiwani IBBR leaves Bathinda at 5.35, and same is the case of 6FKB Fazilka Bathinda. It reaches Bathinda at 19.00 and Rewari- Bathinda train leaves Bathinda at 17.36. One fails to understand why the Railways are not resuming the suspended train. Are they awaiting some agitation?

As a result of this, there is no direct link for the public of Fazilka, Muktsar, Kotkapura, Jaito & Goniana towns in Punjab with towns like Sirsa, Hissar, Bhiwani and Rewari in Haryana. Distt Headquarters Muktsar can be connected with Patiala, Ambala and Delhi by extending the New Delhi-Bathinda express 4589, 4590 up to Fazilka via Kotkapura & Muktsar thereby saving the people from great hardship.



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