On the 150th anniversary of the first war of independence, the siege of Delhi on 4 June by Gujjars evokes a sense of déjà vu. A historical wrong is being perpetuated. The Delhi Sultanate has time and again failed to include the Gujjars in the mainstream of India’s political system. It is time the central establishment accommodated this majority around Delhi in the power structure so as to utilize them as a positive national force. Moreover, let us treat the caste and religion conflicts in Rajasthan and Punjab or other states not as local concerns in Opposition-ruled states but as a national malaise which all parties at the Centre will have to contend with. Meanwhile, the Gujjars must give up their tribal leanings and join the mainstream.
I disagree with Prashant Agrawal’s article, ‘Equality tax for PM’s worries’, Mint, 4 June.
Without even getting into the merits or demerits of the estate tax, the overriding issue is that there is no shortage in the quantum of taxes levied and revenues earned by the government at present in order to drive adequate change and development. The issue is inefficient utilization of those monies and their misappropriation.
The cases in point: The 2% education cess levied on all taxes in the last couple of years is simply not used for that—it is in large parts either unspent or misappropriated.
The additional surcharge levied on petrol for the purpose of financing roads (same story) is largely directed elsewhere. The collections into government relief funds ostensibly for the purpose of aiding earthquake-affected or tsunami-affected, simply don’t go there. I could go on with examples.
Bottom line: There is already adequate contribution or taxes to enable greater development of society—we don’t need to raise more money, just change the way those monies are administered.
I refer to the touching efforts by Dr Sameer Kaul, Mint, 4 June, who is showing the way to other doctors by doing his bit for society. At a time when doctors such as Naresh Trehan are fighting for money, power and giving patients a backseat, Kaul is all the more praiseworthy.
His comment that his effort is a drop in the ocean is correct simply because there are millions of patients in India suffering from cancer—most of them cannot even afford the hospital expenses. But what Kaul’s effort does is provide a platform to them and if he can save a few lives, so can many more doctors if they follow suit.
About the article ‘The Money Managers’, Mint, 7 May, I have a few suggestions. The wealth management market was always there for people who had large investible surplus incomes (in white, of course).
Listing out three more firms does not really help anyone except to give good publicity to the professionals involved and highlight a known trend.
The market is really getting hot at the lower end (say, Rs10 lakh-Rs1 crore) segment. This is the band of the working professional, the IT and management professionals and small business people.
They have spare money to invest but no unbiased guidance on a holistic picture of investments and planning for future needs. The need for guidance for this segment is acute as it has no social security in the form of pensions and no job security.
This is a deglamourized market that is increasingly attracting the attention of wealth managers who have access to financial backup and management capabilities. It would have been nice if you had highlighted companies working in the lower band, for that would help more people.