Saturday, February 5, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Rationalising income tax

A LOT of things have been said in respect of rationalising the income tax structure. But there are certain basic aspects which have been ignored while formulating the structure.

It is based on individual assessments, but the two basic requirements for individual assessment which are available in the Western countries are not available in India. The first is easy availability of jobs. But in India when a person gets a job he generally retires in the same service. He can’t think of switching over to other jobs as jobs are very scarce. The second is availability of funds for establishing a new business. Here persons generally start business on the family money. In the absence of these two basic facilities for independent development of a individual, the individual income tax law is untenable.

  Also, in India the family is supported by a male member and it is the duty of the parents to get at least their children economically established in the society. In India parents do not ask their children to earn and live their own way of life when they attain the age of 15 as in the case of Europe. Even the social obligations in respect of sisters, brothers and old parents are tremendous which are totally absent in the European society from which we have borrowed almost all the laws blindly.

Hence the income tax Act should be based on family income and family comprising husband, wife and their minor children. All the monies earned by the family members should be accounted for tax purposes. It will also eliminate the black money laundered through gifts.

Under the family income tax Rs 80,000 be allowed tax free and then onward tax be levied which should not be more than 30 per cent in any case. It will shift the burden of tax paying from the hard pressed to affluent and privileged section of society. In the present circumstances the persons owning car, bungalow are not paying any tax or paying only nominal tax. The new law will also bring into light the black money a family has generated and concealed. Tax collection will also be higher as all the money earned and spent by the family can be counted easily. A new format can be designed to know the quantum of luxury items held by the family and its expenditure to a great extent. All families be allowed an income tax number and all the purchases, sales and expenditure over and above a certain limit must bear the income tax number of seller and purchaser.

A way has to be worked out in which a honest tax payer can buy a house, car and good living condition for his family. At present no man can buy even essential items after paying all his taxes honestly, what to talk of luxury items.


Power reforms

The electricity boards of northern states (Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and U.P.) are running a deficit of crores of rupees. Theft of power, corrupt staff, mismanagement at administrative level, political pressures in delaying the collection of arrears and cheaper rates for farming sector account for such a state of affairs. Large industrial units with the collusion of board officers too attempt the theft of power at a large scale, and the tampering of meters by some consumers who bribe the board staff also cause huge losses. The line loss in distribution may be ignored as there are technical reasons for this. Honest consumers bear the brunt of such inefficiency and mishandling while the crooked ones get away scot free as they have little fear of law. This situation must be rectified.

The power generation does not give the proportionate share to gross domestic product as has been assumed in statistics. Power sector must be corrected at the earliest. The move to privatise the boards may help to some extent. But the private agencies’ demand for higher counter guarantees will further affect public exchequer. Why do not other states follow the sterling instances of Himachal Pradesh where the State Electricity Board functions efficiently and also makes considerable profits? That would also reduce corruption apart from creating an ideal climate for industrialisation.

Khambi (Faridabad)



Penalising cleanliness!

The Press report titled: “Byelaws revised: now erect hedges 6 ft from kerb” (Jan 29) is an indication of how the Indian mind thinks (“Mera Bharat Mahaan”, notwithstanding). The 29-member House of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) has recommended the levy of a licence fee of Rs 25 per 100 square feet per year on the area covered by hedges. The recommendation if effected in the western world, would certainly have been the subject of laughter. Not so in our country.

After all, those who erect hedges in consonance with the said recommendations would, obviously, keep the areas encompassed clean, which the MCC would be obliged to do if there were no hedges. Surely, the recommendation defies reason or at least, common-sense, so uncommon here! After all, if house owners maintain spaces adjoining their houses, they would be saving “public money. Certainly, the irrationality of penalising people for performing the job meant to be done by MCC does not inspire confidence. Would HUDA and PUDA follow suit?


Era of seed technology

Today after completing 52 years of independence the country has not reached the goal of selfsufficiency in any field, especially in production of foodgrain. With the expansion of population one question arises and disturbs one’s mind: “Will the country be able to deal with such a problem? The answer is yes, if we give importance to seed technology, the only branch which will lead us to the height of selfsufficiency.

Seed technology is a branch of agricultural science which deals with various aspects of seed like seed germination, seed quality, quantity, viability, vigour test, processing, storage and distribution, hybrid seed production, seed legislation and its marketing.



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