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India’s tax structure is regressive

The news report “India tops tax misery score: Forbes” (April 6) did not come as a surprise. Though the rate of personal income tax has been brought down considerably, a country that generates about 83 per cent of its budgetary revenue from taxes evinces its avidity to extract as much from its people as it can.

Over 81 per cent of this tax revenue comes from indirect tax sources, giving the most regressive character to India’s tax structure.



A tax-payer is subject to a mind-boggling multiplicity of taxes. After shelling out a part of his income as income tax, as he shops for his daily household needs, he is mercilessly squeezed of his earnings for each commodity that he buys or any service that he contracts in the market.

Not that the citizens of the country shirk responsibility in sharing the fiscal burden of the government for spending on the developmental needs of the country.

But what they rue is the pantheon of taxes slapped on them to supplement the empty coffers on account of the fiscal profligacy of the prodigal ministers and bureaucrats.

India must be the only state in the world that tries to extract revenue from tax-payers, even through coercive methods, instead of meeting targets through spontaneous collections.

DR VIKRAM CHADHA, Professor of Economics, GND University, Amritsar

Denial of justice

In the editorial “Un-clean chit” (April 4) you are correct in stating, “It is matter of national shame that the 2,733 Sikhs officially admitted to have been killed in Delhi alone—-and many more whom the official agencies tended to ignore—-have not been able to get justice even a quarter century after the massacre.”

The granting of a clean chit to Jagdish Tytler is a crime against humanity and should be condemned by all. It is against the concept of natural justice.


Focus on disabled

The information in the news report “Poll power for differently abled” (April 2) by Aditi Tandon was heartening. On the directions of the apex court, the Election Commission has provided means to enable disabled voters to exercise their franchise with ease. The CPM also deserves praise for being the first party to include “disability” in its election manifesto. Other political parties, too, must follow suit.

The disabled require special focus so that they do not remain the silent and invisible minority. It is generally seen that when the governments are unable to discharge their responsibilities towards the disabled, they make laws.

The government should understand that laws alone are not enough. There has to be a will and an appropriate attitude. It is time the disabled voters came together and asked for the candidates’ agenda for the disabled.

B K JETHI, Ludhiana

Make education system more open

In his article “Need to remove contradictions — Privatisation of higher education” (March 31) S S Chahal has aptly remarked that privatisation and commercialisation are inseparable.

Dr J N Kapoor in his book has rightly observed, “Education is a big industry, but it does no consumer or product research. It is a protected industry and that is why it is inefficient.”

Many ancillary trades and professions also live on this system. It is amusing to watch the wrath of educators over the phenomenon of private coaching establishments which promise short-cuts to learning.

Invaluable as the services of professional teachers are, we also need a new kind of teachers for a new kind of learning.

The exclusiveness of the academic profession has lately not been taking learners to any new heights of excellence.

Its attitude is akin to Benjamin Jowett’s words, “I am the Master of the college, what I don’t know isn’t knowledge”.

Ivan Illich’s indictment of academic practices goes thus, “Information is locked in special languages and specialised teachers live off its retranslation.”

What we need is an open system, in which universities do not function like secret societies and the disciplines do not turn into arcane pursuits. Teaching should be used for reaching a higher level of achievement.


Powerless vote

Vote has given little power to the people. In fact it is of little use to a hungry man. The people with real power are those who can take advantage of this hunger and use it for their advantage.

Thus, the political power, which the vote was supposed to give, has little significance without economic power. The dream that equality would follow from vote has come to nothing.

DR DEV RAJ GUPTA, Ambala city

What a waste!

The Liberhan Commission constituted to inquire into the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992, got extension for the 48th time.

The purpose behind setting up of such commissions by our politicians is to befool the innocent people. Except for squandering public money, it will achieve little else.




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