Indian Tax Savers’ Plea To Govt.
Abracadabra By K. B. Ganapathy, Columns

Indian Tax Savers’ Plea To Govt.

We pay tax so that the Government provides us with infrastructure needed for leading a comfortable and quality life. These infrastructures are, for example, uninterrupted quality power supply, water supply, good roads, security of life and property,  quality health and education service.

The demagogic speeches of politicians, often delivered loudly and with great flourish, may hold the captive crowd spell-bound but are the voters convinced of the politician’s promises and the truth in his tirade against his rival? In India, as I know, the poor, gullible voters are convinced of the promises, believe the vituperative tirade and vote such a politician to power. And then they remain in this democratic trap for five years!

Before and after Independence, we have seen and experienced this universal phenomenon of democracy in India and also all over the world. That is the unique feature of democracy and that is what makes it vulnerable to fall into the hands of unscrupulous politicians, who may even destroy democracy.

I have seen this from the days of Nehru to the present days of Narendra Modi. What happened to Nehru’s ‘Tryst with destiny’ and ‘Redeeming of the pledge’ in a midnight speech on the night of Independence made with great rhetoric and admired by the whole world? “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” said a political pundit, John Acton. After the first five years in Office, Nehru’s government became susceptible to all the ills that any government with such popular support suffers from — effete administration, racial and religious discrimination in pursuit of strengthening the vote-bank and corruption.

Considered by his countrymen as a most learned and noble leader, who once famously said that any corrupt person must be hung by the nearest lamp-post, Nehru was seen condoning corruption of his colleagues in the government like Partap Singh Kairon, Chief Minister of Punjab and V.K. Krishna Menon, Defence Minister, for example. Just as beauty of a woman, even Cleopatra was not spared, fades with age, the power of a politician too gets enfeebled with years in power.

And then, where does that “boast of heraldry, the pomp of power” end? For Nehru, it ended with 1962 China War. For Indira Gandhi, with the Emergency she imposed on our country and later with the Operation Blue Star. Likewise with all the successive Prime Ministers after her, with one exception I would make for P.V. Narasimha Rao.

In a senseless pursuit of power, our country which was divided on the basis of Hindu and Muslim religion, was kept that way even after Independence with a perceptible hiatus between Indian Hindus and Indian Muslims to the point some sections of Hindus began suspecting those in power, read Congress, of building a Muslim vote-bank through Muslim appeasement instead of giving a quietus to the mutual suspicion between Hindus and Muslims by bringing Muslims to the mainstream of society in the true spirit of secularism.

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Unfortunately, the Congress thought calling Hindu political leaders, other than those in the Congress Party, as Communal is Secularism. So the Congress succeeded in dividing the country once again as Secularists and Communalists. Hindus in Congress, Muslims and other minorities and leftists, who supported Congress became Secularists and all Hindus who supported and are sympathetic to Hindu unity under BJP, RSS or other organisations became Communalists.

See where we have come to at present after 70 years of Independence and democracy — a state of equality before law for all citizens irrespective of race, caste or religion under Narendra Modi. This is the true meaning of secularism, not pampering one religion against another.

But sadly, old habits die hard for old political parties. They will see intolerance where there is none. They will see Communalism where there is none. Come elections, they will visit temples to get Hindu votes but will divide the Hindu society taking advantage of the pernicious caste system prevailing in it.

Thus, the dance of democracy goes on in our country and let us celebrate our democracy despite the erratic behaviour of our politicians. We are lucky that despite many acrimonious political battles and corruption, politicians of all shades respect and in fact love Secularism and democracy, though not Socialism. I want the word “socialistic” removed from the Constitution and replaced with the word “welfare” which has a human spirit in it while the word “socialistic” is too materialistic and even discriminatory among people who produce the wealth of a nation and those who merely consume it.

Now, be that as it may, the reason for these rambling thoughts is a WhatsApp message forwarded to me a few days back about paying tax to our government. The title of the message is, “Why do Indians resist paying tax?”

A good question I thought and read it from the beginning to the end. It was a question posed to our Prime Minster Narendra Modi, who had promised to deposit Rs. 15 lakh in every Indian citizen’s account (illegal immigrants excluded, I hope) after getting lakhs of crores of rupees stacked away in foreign banks by our corrupt politicians and rich people. Of course, we are all waiting for that “socialistic” windfall like the Biblical manna from heaven. But let us wait. Now the WhatsApp letter:

Dear Modiji,

This is what we honest citizens feel about our Governments — Central and State. On behalf of professionals and businessmen, I am sending you some facts. Please try to understand.

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We are not doing Tax “Chori”… this is tax saving (a bit of evading too). This is to ensure security of our family, kids and their future for any adversity.

  1. We bought Generators/Inverters in our houses, because Govt. failed to provide constant electricity.
  2. We installed submersible pumps, because Govt. failed to provide water.
  3. We hired own security guards, because Govt. failed to provide security.
  4. We send our kids to private schools, because Govt. failed to provide good education in public schools.
  5. We headed for private hospitals to avail proper care and treatment, because Govt. failed to provide good public hospitals.
  6. We bought cars because Govt. failed to provide good transportation.

Finally…, what the taxpayer gets in return at the retirement, when he needs most to survive? Nothing, no social security.

But instead all his hard-earned income resource is used by Government to distribute subsidies and freebies in the name of welfare schemes among masses to buy “free votes” to those who don’t pay any taxes.

Above all, what does the Government do with our (tax) money?

Open Courts, which do not give judgement.

Open Police Stations, which work for politicians only and not protect citizens.

Open Hospitals, which do not treat us well.

Build roads wherein 40-100% of money spent goes in vain due to corruption. Endless list…

Like western democracies, if Indian Governments could provide all the above, why would anyone save taxes ?

We all know that the major tax revenues collected from us are consumed by Government officials and politicians (billions of dollars are lying in foreign banks).

A manufacturer works at a margin of between 2% and 10% whereas government needs 30% of his income to cover its expenditure. How fair is it all? That’s the reason no one wants to pay taxes.

We save taxes for our necessities, family, for our old age, for our safety, security and this phenomenon is the sign of failure of Government in discharging its own functions fairly and efficiently. Government alone is responsible for this.

But on the other hand what do we do?

If and when Govt. announces that Rs.1,000 crore is required for Indian Army or floods or earthquake victims, the same amount will be deposited within couple of days by these “Tax- Savers” only. We will come forward with open hearts.

My dear friends, if you agree with this opinion, please forward this until the Government realises its responsibilities.

Jai Hind

e-mail: [email protected]

January 9, 2018

4 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Indian Tax Savers’ Plea To Govt.”

  1. Sandeep says:

    I am not a big fan of Modi! I was more of a fan of Indira Gandhi about how she handled Pakistan, but, her family and friends destroyed India in the name if dynasty!
    I have heard what Modi said and herd it is as was said …

    but whenever opposition or media says that Pm Modi promised about depositing 15 Lakh, i just feel they should have something better to attack on government.

    This is ridiculous and a big lie that he ever promised of depositing money. The day when said about 15 Lakh rupees.

    During his speech he just compared the value of money to make common people realize about how huge amount of black money is deposited out of India.

    it was just an example, read the whole paragraph below , and you will understand it. and nothing is wrong in it. All of us sometimes use some examples or comparison to magnify the value that thing possess.

    It was his sentences during his speech

    Blah blah…“Agar ek baar ye jo chor lutero ke paisa videshi bankon me jama hain na…, itne bhi hum rupaye le aaye na to bhi hindustaan ke ek ek garib aadmi ko mufat me 15–20 lakh rupaye yu nh imil jayenge, itne rupaye hain. ye hamare MP sahab keh rahe the, kala dhan aa jaye to jahan chahe railway line dal jayegi, ye loot chalai hai aur behsharam hoke kehete hain aur puchte modi ko ki kaise layen. jis din bhartiya janta party ko mauka milega, ek ek pai hindustan wapas lai jayegi aur hindustan ke garibo ke liye kaam laye jayegi, ye janta ke paise hain garib ke paise hain, sab mehnat karte hain, unka hai unko ye dhan milna chayie…… and blah blah
    I don’t think Modi ever said he would send a checque to everybody for 15 Lakhs nor about 100 days as media spins it.
    So, sir, by any chance your sole source of facts Gomes from NDTV? If yes, then, I don’t need to comment about the rest of the garbage! Looks like prestitution is all pervasive in Indian media! Thanks to Congress ruke for 6 decades!

  2. Samuel says:

    Sir, your letter to the PM makes sense, except it is a bit too late! Modi is no God to repair the ill effects if 6 decades of looting! Even now opposition and prestitutes are hampering every effort from Rajya Sabha to judiciary, by protests, by propaganda and by every possible means! Just a few days ago, all the 2G looters got a clean chit! Again, intolerance Gand, psedo secular gangs are on all out assault , even taking help from Pakistan and China!
    So, either give him some Time or elect Rahul Gandhi so that all your dreams come true!

  3. questo says:

    Of course, Nehru, went weak and mishandled many issues, culminating in 1962 china battle. But to place Nehru and Modi side-by-side is too unfair to Nehru. Modi belongs the class of PMs and other ministers who came after Lal Bahadur Shashtri i.e., starting Indira Gandhi and her crony cabinet.

    When Nehru became PM, food security was abysmal (a small famine used to cause millions of deaths), >80% of Indians were in villages with very low industrialization, literacy rate was 16%, there were only 4 Lakh graduates(!), a few hundred colleges, few tens of Universities, there was a need for annexation of several provinces, there were wars with pakistan (India was facing Pak from both east and west), there were ~3500 bank branches, there were almost no roads, infrastructure was in horrible conditions, there was not much money to spend on anything other than basic needs, and tons of other serious issues. Corruption was the least of the problems. No govt after Shastri’s faced even 5% of such grave issues.

    The first few central govts worked well under such insanely hostile conditions, and they cannot be dismissed as the worst thing ever happened. A few minor bad decisions such as demonetization can harm the economy significantly even today when India is quite stable, guess how well-planned every one of the decisions in the first 15 years was. Only after Lal Bahaddur Shastri’s era did India develop enough to consider corruption as a serious problem.

    People who have never read history or can understand it, blame Nehru for all the current India’s problems. They have no idea that India would have been another Sudan if it were not for Nehru and his cabinet. I believed that people like the author of the article who would have ‘seen’ all those grave issues India initially faced would be better thinkers.

    Most of the current problems can be traced back to, however, Indira Gandhi. Her monstrous labor reforms and other such bills, nepotism, greed for the power, weakening of independent institutions like CBI (and courts), cruel disdain towards dissenters… collectively ruined India. Most of those tools and tricks still exist and have been effectively used by govt after govt, including Modi’s.

    Lastly, corruption is insignificant when it comes to development. Policies require major changes, Indira Gandhi era policies need to be thrown away, our institutions need to be freed from state/central govt influence… Corruption in China is much worse than that in India, black money in China is also higher than that of India’s, yet China is far ahead of us. This is mainly because of the policy changes they brought after the disastrous Mao’s era.

  4. theskywalker says:

    I had had the privilege of meeting Nehru in a group of us engineering students who were ion North India tour. That was 1962, and the impression he gave us of that of a dreamer, which was fine, but his inability to act in the interests of the country was his big failure. For example, he let the CMs of states to do as they liked and Kengal was an example. Kengal’s mammoth waste of taxpayers money on VidhanSoudha was tolerated by Nehru, even though many complained to him about the vast sums of money paid to contractors with no return on the value.
    He was the unchallenged leader of the country, and loved the Soviet Union’s wasteful model of 5 -year plans so much that it blinded him to consider other alternatives. Whilst the plans failed to improve transport and communications infrastructure in the country, they promoted large state owned undertakings which have miserably failed in the end. He tolerated corruption even when it was evident , the example was the Mundhra episode. In international terms, his non-aligned movement was a sham as it never criticised the excesses of Soviet Union. As a result,India was left with very few friends. He finally, tacitly seemed to agree his daughter’s dynastic inheritance of his mantel, when she was elected Congress President. He listened to her which resulted in his dismissal of the democratically elected Namboodripad’s Communist government in Kerala, which was a disgrace. I can list many other domestic failures. Indians expected better from him in independence India, and I could see him even in early 1950s,just 5 years after independence, acting in a partisan way as for as Congress was concerned. That resulted in the growth of corruption in that party, which was detrimental to the country as , Congress ruled most of the states, and this led to institutional corruption from the state governments to the local governments which were all Congress-led.
    Born in early 1940s,I heard even then his contribution to independence of India from my elders, and was an admirer of him, after reading his book: ” T,he Discovery of India” soon in my Middle School days in early 1950s. For me, it was sad that he disappointed so many like me who expected greater things from him-transcending the party politics as a national leader, which was his singular failure.

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