Referring to “Relook at bundling by broadcasters may result in lower cable bills,” Mint, 3 March, I feel the purpose of CAS—viewers pay as per choice for channels—is defeated in DTH. Consumers can’t choose the channels and have to pay for the full package. This is forced by government and at the much higher cost for viewers. For cable TV the price was much less, even for more than one TV set. But in DTH one has to pay additionally for second and third TV sets with a high installation cost for each TV set. Only the rich can afford it. Had such a decision been taken by private channels, they would have landed in jail but for government it is justified—what a double face! The plea of quality that government claims in case of DTH can’t be forced on viewers.
In response to your front-page report “Retrospective Reach: Budget goes 30 years back to alter rules,” Mint, 8 March, I wish to share my views on the subject of retrospective amendments either through the Finance Bill or through ‘explanatory’ notifications issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes.
Amendments are inevitable, and considering the number of intelligent lawyers and professional accountants who are very good at finding loopholes in the Income-tax Act and Rules, theoretically there can be no restriction on the number of amendments a government wants to enact.
The only question that arises is whether such amendments should have retrospective effect. This needs some debate. The drafting of the tax law and rules can’t possibly be so accurate as to address every odd situation. If courts ignore the legislative intent, and award relief to assessees that was not originally intended, an amendment to overrule the court judgement becomes inevitable and can’t be considered as mala fide. Retrospective amendments in that case become a necessity as our court cases tend to drag for as many as 20-25 years.
I believe that we have to enact the legislative intent of our tax provisions very clearly and the courts should then not be allowed to interpret the law ignoring such an intent. I do not know whether such a thing is possible but we have to debate and find ways and means to avoid both unnecessary litigation and subsequent amendments.
Narendra M. Apte
I read your story on the innovative farmer in the Sixty in Sixty series, Mint, 7 March. I have been through a similar life over the last 41 years. My parents are still working on their land even at the age of 60-65 years from morning to evening, yielding good returns even with adverse circumstances by changing crops and protecting these from adverse climate changes and by coping with water scarcity with wiser usage. You should see the problems the farmers in villages face and the measures and innovations they adopt to make the land more fertile, such as multicrop cultivation, to get good yields.
Your article should inspire the new generation that has known the taste and smell of soil even though they are now living in flats and apartments. Your endeavour to spread this success story among the public gives much inspiration, especially the farmers dedicating their life to the land.
Hope to see more such articles.
Read Wider Angle, ‘Too tired to take off’, Mint, 9 March. I have two daughters working in the so-called corporate jobs. For them home is a sort of guest house where they get hot food at night, a warm bed, already made, to have a good night’s sleep—to work again next morning with renewed vigour.
I am a lecturer at the Banaras Hindu University. I find my job more satisfying—but perhaps we are producing the future corporate workers!