Friday, March 02, 2007

Chidambaram, your budget is not sexy, not sensible

By John Cheeran
Budgets without taxes are much similar to Harold Robbins novels without sex.
The numbers, though, would not excite us.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram has presented the Union Budget for 2007-2008 and there are no surprises, which is par for the course. Again, the salaried classes are left carrying the burden of nation building. They earn more but after scavenging for years and now they have to pay for the crime of hard work. All in the name of the nation!
I have no problem in paying taxes. For it has been said that thou shall give Caesar what’s due to him.
But I also expect Caesar to take care of my needs.
A government, which is eager to punish salaried men and women for earning more, should also take care of them when the same people are fired from their jobs.
Is there a social security system in India?
Also the government should have a different tax structure for the salaried class in the private sector who does not enjoy the advantage of pension. Finance Minister should not be blind to factors such as these and build the incredible India.
India, indeed, is incredible as far as the skewed tax policies are concerned. Populist politics has ensured that filthy rich farmers do not have to pay a paise as tax.
Who are the farmers in India? They are the rich landlords, the most reactionary forces in contemporary India. Yes, I’m not ignoring those farmers who actually till their land and live by the sweat of their brow. But it is not farmers alone live by the sweat of their brow.
There is much breast-beating about farmers’ suicides. But you should not forget that in India it is not farmers alone who pay with their lives. Economic peril bedevil all sections of the society. Why farmers alone be given the sops? It is glossed over that farmers often take loan ostensibly for agriculture and spend the same for other needs.
It’s similar to me taking personal loan from the State Bank of India and tell the bank, sorry I have lost all money and I can’t repay. Will P. Chidambaram waive off my loan?
India’s tragedy is that the political class has conveniently segregated the society into minorities, farmers, Dalits, OBCs, traders and salaried classes etc. The political class adopt different yardsticks to measure what is essentially common to everyone.
The only way out of the tax morass is the abolition of direct tax.
Let everyone pay for the benefits the state bestow on us or the facilities we make use of. Or let everyone pay the same percentage of direct tax. Let the beggar, Dalit, farmer, panwallah, executive and Ratan Tata pay the same percentage.
Let all prosper together.

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