Legend has it that during the rule of Moghuls, Akbar, one of the emperors of the middle-ages dynasty, had kept a bell hanging in the Palace premises which any citizen could ring to invite the king’s attention and get an audience from him to narrate the woes and seek redressal from the topmost authority. In an aside, an ass also rang the bell and it is immaterial to know what followed. One is prompted to hasten and remark, in a virtual encore of the ass-related episode, citizens ringing the bell in our times at the various offices of the authorities in the departments of the government, are made to feel asinine.
Let us digress from the aforementioned subject and dwell on more important issues. To provide a background before proceeding further, one has to note that citizens generate wealth in cash as well as kind only for the government to claw its long fingers into the kitty of people ostensibly to meet the expenses of the State on governance. While the citizens are at liberty to spend their money on necessities or splurge on luxuries, the government is obliged to exercise care and caution in deploying public funds for functioning on acceptable lines. More is not necessary to be said on the rules of the game called administration.
If only economics and the principles enunciated by the flock of academics revelling in that subject, including the postulates of Vishnu Gupta (Kautilya) included in his magnum opus Arthashastra, dominated administration, instead of politics as practised by the land’s self-proclaimed netas and their cohorts in administration (bureaucrats), nobody has reason to complain. But, as even a high school student knows, politics of the netas has stumped economics of the academics.
Readers of articles, reports, public statements by honchos of the country’s industrial world and so on published by dailies and presentations on the small screen by different channels are taking note (in bewildering silence) of the sweat and toil of the wealth-generators by raising crops, manufacturing products, providing services and so on, even as the members of the Union Cabinet are excelling one another in their rhetoric (verbal diarrhoea) on the floor of the nation’s Parliament as well as on public platforms. The Union Finance Minister in the land’s incumbent government is currently battling with the twin tasks of bridging the trade gap resulting in current account deficit and reducing the fiscal deficit to balance the government’s budget year on year. The think-tank of the government is currently upbeat about marshalling the required financial resources through Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the range of 5 to 28 percent, a move that has ruffled the nation, as reported in the media.
In the foregoing backdrop, the Fervent Appeal made to the Prime Minister by the Punjab Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, published in a widely read daily last week, virtually sounding like a prayer, suggests a pragmatic basis for taxing products of Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSME). If the top brass in Delhi responds to the prayer positively, the life of both people at large and industry is bound to be less taxing (pun intended).