It is important to realize the realities of life in Jammu and Kashmir (re: “Militant moral hazard”, editorial, Mint, 22 February). The so-called Hurriyat mandarins take orders from across the border and induce their followers to act under religious fervour. They sabotage initiatives by the elected government which is trying to bring normalcy in the state. In this process, they inflict irretrievable injury on their own people. To combat terrorism, the Union and state governments should make honest and viable plans to implement programmes which will spur the economy. This will change people. Though one may feel it is rhetoric, in the end this humane approach certainly brings fruitful results.
— Srinivasan Sripadha Rao
It is sad to read about M.F. Husain (“India lost Husain years ago” by Anindita Ghose, Mint, 3 March). I think the government could have done better by instituting a special court to club together and speedily try the cases pending against him in various courts. Given the speed of judicial proceedings in India, it is foolish to expect a speedy disposal of cases in so many courts. Some alternative method should have been tried.
It is very difficult to see who is wrong and who is right. Given the sentiments attached to religion, Husain should have left such themes out of his art. One knows that if there is any portrayal or visual impression of Prophet Muhammad, the world will not tolerate that: We have seen what happened to a Danish newspaper when it tried that. People feel that it is against their religious sentiments. One cannot blame them for this as religion is an important part of the life of a majority. Recently, a small article purportedly written by Taslima Nasreen (which she later denied having written) led to riots in Karnataka.
Such sensitivity runs across religions, be it Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism or other religions. Since people attach sentiments to their gods/goddesses, it is better to leave them out of artistic portrayal that is against the general belief attached to a particular deity.
— Golaka C. Nath
Jayati Ghosh (“Behind the Budget, a rejection of common people’s interests”, Mint, 27 February) writes that direct taxpayers— corporations and the less than 5% of the population who contribute to the direct tax collection by the government—were given a bonanza of tax reductions.
It is a well-known fact that a large percentage of people in India who have non-salary income do not declare their full income and evade tax by exploiting the prevailing tax laws.
By reducing the tax burden on the salaried class and increasing excise duties on goods and bringing more services under the service tax net, the government is trying to move away from direct taxes (i.e., taxing income) to indirect taxes (i.e., taxing consumption, when the income is actually spent on goods and services).
The advantage here is that you are making it fair for all. The assumption here being that people who earn more will also spend more. It is difficult to make everybody honest and make them declare their real incomes for the sake of collecting taxes, but it is easy to make them pay taxes when they use money to buy goods and services.
An ideal scenario is when nobody pays taxes on their earnings, but everybody pays taxes while spending their earnings. But this is impractical. So a 10% flat tax on earnings is more practical and will probably make most people declare their earnings honestly, and a 10% tax again on all goods and services should not be too much of a burden on the people.
— Sampath Kuve