By N.K.A. Ballal, Retd. Sr. Vice-President, ITDC
An email from an Indian in the UK:
My salary in UK is 61,000 pounds per annum without tax. (61,000 x 80 = INR 48,80,000).
I pay 40 percent tax on my salary. 48,80,000 – 19,52,000 = INR 29,28,000 balance.
Then 700 pounds per month as house rent, 140 pounds per month as council tax, about 100 pounds for gas and electricity per month. 500 pounds as water bill per annum. About 1,000 pounds per annum car insurance and 250 pounds road tax per annum (you can’t drive a car in UK without insurance and road tax). Total comes to 18,570 x 80 = INR 15,85,000.
29,28,000 – 15,85,000= INR 13,44,000.
All these bills are non-negotiable and paid by all human beings living in UK. About 40 percent UK residents pay income tax.
Some bills like gas and electricity depend on usage but have to be paid.
Add to these all daily living expenses like food, petrol, mobile, WiFi, etc. And all these are much more expensive than in India.
That’s why UK is developed, roads are good and clean, government schools are best, with 24 hours electricity and water. I am telling just basic things. Forget about advanced and complex things (like tax on property, capital gain tax on selling a property, etc).
Remember, UK is a net importer of food, clothes, things of daily life, petrol and petroleum products. Size of UK is about the size of the State of Uttar Pradesh and 1/3 of its population.
Coming to India: It is a huge country with rich resources. We don’t import food and clothes.
Just 3.75 crore people out of 130 crore pay income tax. That is just 2.9 percent. And most of these are salaried employees who can’t hide their income.
All 130 crore citizens want cheap electricity, water, good government schools, best roads and highways and super-fast trains.
Just sit and think for a minute. How many times have a local grocery shop, milk booth, sweets shop, garments shop, mobile and computer repair shop have given you any bill?
Look at all those businessmen around you who are earning more than an average salaried person.
And now think of businessmen sitting in areas like Karol Bagh, Chawari Bazaar, Sadar Bazaar and all other trading hubs of Delhi or Zaveri Bazaar, Hindmata market etc., of Mumbai or any other market of any other Indian city. You will never get a bill in these markets.
At least not an invoice. How many get a bill or invoice on buying or selling property?
But all of them want good roads, 24 hours electricity and water supply. They want good school and will abuse government for poor government school. They will blame the government for traffic jams, filthy roads. And when they go out they will abuse government for poor railways and airports.
Now, when our government has introduced a system (GST) to prevent tax evasion all these are the ones who are raising a hue and cry. These are the people who are sharing and liking everything on FB which is against the present government. I am not pro-present government but I am against this hypocrisy.
This is democracy. So all these tax evaders and opposition leaders and pseudo-intellectuals have their own right to oppose government. But then don’t abuse the system or government when you don’t get electricity or when your garbage is not picked or when you are stuck in traffic jam or when Indian Military doesn’t get its much needed sophisticated arms.
Don’t say Europe mein highways BEST hain. First pay here and then demand.
So true, we Indians just do not pay our taxes but demand the best of services. My daughter stays in a medium-sized city at US and shells out about 25 dollars a month as garbage and sewage tax. What do we pay for clearance of garbage? Even when a garbage cart is coming to collect, some people take pleasure in dumping garbage on the road and pavements. I stay in k.c. Layout, considered a posh Layout and know of several homes who have not installed water meter and enjoy the government supply of water without paying a single rupee for years and then have the gall to complain about the quality of water.
In Delhi, several years ago, an audit revealed that nearly 35 percent of electricity was being stolen. When investigated it was found that the power stolen by the poor, that is people staying in the slums, was just 10 percent. The majority of power theft was being done by the so-called elite of the town staying in posh houses with a/c and other amenities !
As regards Income Tax, the less said the better. One can understand the poor and marginal farmer not paying tax but why all rich agriculturists are exempted? The elite of the country become part-time agriculturists to siphon off their profits and not pay any taxes. The richest man in India Mukesh Ambani is not the highest tax payer. Why? Engaging several top-notch lawyers, these rich honchos create a maze of shell companies, trusts to ensure that they pay much lesser tax than they are supposed to, taking advantage of the tax laws which are so complicated and depends on the whims and interpretations of the pliant officers.
Demonetisation and GST have brought in many a shell companies out and has definitely increased the tax base but the volume of backlog is so high it may take years before all the pending cases are disposed of. Is it possible to eradicate corruption in such a large country like India? Of course not. But at least the “right to demand” is always there when we pay in full, whatever tax is due.