the chemistry between the right hand and the left

laxman seth, a cpm mp, tells the government how to mobilize more resources, a couple of years ago (and i'm sure someone from the cpm had given the government the same advice a couple of years before that, and a couple of years... before..):
Saying that there is a huge resource crunch, with high revenue and fiscal deficits in the union budget, Seth stressed the need for resource mobilisation. And for this, the vast parallel economy of black money must be tapped. Seth pointed out that there are huge tax arrears amounting to nearly Rs 70,000 crore. The non-performing assets of banks (NPAs) account for another Rs 75,000 crore. He criticised the government for not making any attempt to unearth the black money. He also wanted plugging of large-scale evasion of taxes by corporate and business houses and the broadening of the tax net. He gave an example of how bad things were by citing the case of returns filed by the corporate houses. Only two per cent of those returns are checked on the plea that the government does not have sufficient machinery. Seth questioned why there is no sufficient machinery and if this was the case how the government can mobilise resources.
what do you learn from that advice? one, that there is large scale tax evasion in the country and two, the government should invest more in machinery so that tax evasion can be curtailed and arrears can be collected.

one agrees totally with the first conclusion. tax evasion is bad for the country. one also agrees with the second conclusion, almost totally. almost totally, you might ask? why not totally? the second conclusion, or element of advice, asks the government to invest more in machinery, and this is what i object to. machines do not collect taxes, people do. babus in the central and state governments. the mp obviously thinks the government should recruit more taxmen. he means upper caste taxmen, of course. you very rarely find any other kind in the country. this would entail a certain cost every year- a few crores, or a few hundred crores if you're thinking of the whole country, in pay and perks for these new taxmen. and they won't come with any guarantee that any tax arrears will be collected. writing such a condition into the terms of employment would of course have the cpm on the streets, conducting bandhs, and also galvanize them into action in parliament, conducting roadshows. and what'd you be ultimately left with? more taxes to pay for the extra taxmen.

that's how upper caste revolutionaries save upper caste businessmen while pulling up the government, and not the upper caste taxmen, for not recruiting more upper caste taxmen to improve tax revenues. that's called: saving all shades of upper caste indians with one stone.

here's another instance of good marksmanship:
In any case, the issue is between:

Rs. 58,416 + 38,107 + 58,655 +87,992 crores vs. Rs. 60,000 crores

Needless to say, the marginal and small farmer has neither such tax-saving options - and for that matter, a taxable income!!!
that is how you save upper caste small and marginal farmers (yes, i know it'd be easier to find the loch ness monster than small and marginal upper caste farmers who need relief): by pointing out how upper caste businessmen owe more notional tax arrears than them! you can't tax the loch ness monster for inhabiting the loch ness, can you? but notional tax arrears make as powerful tools as mythical monsters in keeping the lower castes hungry and happy.

the life of an upper caste revolutionary is tough: he has to carry the burden of so many lower caste ingrates while at the same time protecting, as i said earlier, all shades of upper caste indians.

the day upper caste taxmen collect the 70,000 crores in tax arrears plus the 75,000 crores in npas (mentioned in the first part of this post) and also the Rs. 58,416 + 38,107 + 58,655 +87,992 crores in tax evasion (mentioned in the second part, or instance) i'll offer them an equivalent amount plus one rupee as a token of eternal gratitude from the aforementioned ingrates.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

what would you suggest as a means of improving tax collection? seriously.

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