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Indirect taxes hitting consumers hard

The government has lately imposed 3.5 pc Service Tax on railways for Ist Class rail passengers and freight charges. There is no justification in imposing Service Tax for rail travel as railways are supposed to provide customer care service to passengers without levying any extra charge. Service Tax is required to be recovered from the Service Tax Department and not from customers.

Initially, Service Tax was required to be imposed on services where fat profits were involved which were not reflected either in I-T or any other way. When the government failed to get there taxes from the depts / services concerned, they allowed them to be extracted from consumers which is wrong. It has resulted in consumer being vehemently overcharged. The provision of Service Tax is being misused by the government.

Middlemen like retailers, legal professionals, private doctors, etc were avoiding taxes. But later the government advertised that these charges are required to be recovered by the server from the consumer and deposited with the government. The earlier contention that the server will pay out of their profits was gone. It clearly meant that the server will charge that much of percentage more from the consumer and deposit with the government.

This indirect form of taxation has caused lot of burden on consumers as the list of such servers has since become very large and the service charges imposed through different means have accumulated.

The government must look for some other means to amass funds rather than this method of fleecing consumers. It is surprising that the purpose for which the funds are being collected is not being served. The funds are being diverted to other projects which are nowhere near those objectives or are being siphoned off.

Brig KG BEHL (retd), Uttarakhand

Difficult task ahead

Arvind Kejriwal and his team have freedom to launch a new political party with a motive to establish a corruption-free society by forming a people-friendly government in India (Editorial Protests to politics”, October 4). We appreciate their intention, but the moot question is: Will they be successful? India is a big country characterised by geographical, social and economic diversities and inequalities. Illiteracy, poverty, ignorance, unemployment and other social evils are widely prevalent in our country. Corruption has lowered the quality of governance. Money and muscle powers play a major role during elections. Political consciousness among masses is still very low.

Kejriwal’s political outfit will need huge resources to get established in the political arena. Where from will he get human and material resources to cope with the politico-socio-economic situation? Which political ideology will the new party follow?

It would have been better if they would have stayed with Anna Hazare and launched another democratically approved peaceful movement to awaken the people on burning socio-economic issues.




The manifesto of Kejriwal’s yet-to-be-named party is commendable. The various items on the manifesto are not only simple but are also implementable, like Right to Reject a candidate to a voter by providing a button in the EVM machine. If the UPA government is sincere, it should immediately legislate on the subject by issuing an Ordinance. The elections to the state Assemblies of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh have been announced. The suggestion of providing an appropriate button in the EVM at the time of holding elections should be implemented at the earliest.


The situation in Valley

The killing of sarpanchs by terrorists in J&K and their subsequent en masse resignation is a serious matter. The much-talked about normalcy in the Valley seems misleading. The network of militants is strong enough to challenge the state government. Well-entrenched militant organisations headed by Hydra-headed Gillanis and Yaseen Maliks readily provide inflammable material to burn Kashmir.

In the given situation, asking for the revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) would be ‘harakiri’. Rather more forces are needed to thwart the nasty plans of the enemy. The state government is advised to clear the state of terrorists groups and bust their hideouts once and for all, just like Sri Lanka which got rid of the LTTE and ever since the country has been thriving in peace and prosperity. Peace is paramount for a democratic setup to thrive.



Rahul Gandhi’s visit to J& K will certainly boost the morale of the people and it will undoubtedly send out a strong message to the youth in the trouble-torn state. It seems Rahul Gandhi has taken a leaf from the Panchayati Raj system initiated by his father late Rajiv Gandhi. Rajiv Gandhi took a bold step to let young people of 18 to vote and empower women through Panchayati Raj .

It is the high time that Rahul Gandhi accepts higher responsibility and brings in a dynamic leader like Mani Shankar Aiyar ( the architect of Panchayati Raj ) to speed up development at grassroots. To defuse the uncertain and gloomy condition persisting in the state, the party would do well to go first to the lowest layer of democracy, the Panchayats.


Badal’s freebie culture! 

The largesse doled out by Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal to Lawrence School, Sanawar, is unfair in the light of the pathetic condition of primary schools in rural areas of Punjab. Children still sit on the floor to study or under trees and do not have toilet facilities. A good number of schools could have been provided some of these facilities with Rs 1 crore.

The school would have done a great service to the poor people of Punjab by politely returning the cheque to the Punjab government for use in schools where it is needed more.

Col (retd) BS BHULLAR, Amritsar



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