Why play up the Naxalite ‘menace’ when it is we who help create their cadres? The cycle is endless: Poor man’s rights are trampled upon by rich man/politician, he protests, is killed by goondas in uniform. His brother/son seeks but gets no justice from a system geared to protect rich man/politician. Naxals step in. Their recruit kills a policeman in revenge, the police then kill more innocents. This isn’t to condone anyone, but the Congress and the Left speak of the BJP and Gujarat from a moral high-ground. But why has the Left never reminded the Congress about the 1984 Sikh massacre? Why is the Congress still with the Left after Nandigram?
Bharatram Gara, Mumbai
This refers to the report ‘Children still deprived of a genuine share’, Mint, 8 March. The startling state of affairs in child development is not surprising. There may be more than 200 million children under six whom we have failed time and again. Child labour may have been curbed, but where is the infrastructure to contain the menace? We are still beset with problems of blatantly inadequate facilities in our schools, hospitals, and recreation for the millions of poor children living in our villages. A pity this is so even after six decades of independence. Our child rights activists are only interested in making news while we hang our heads in shame. There are no full-throttled efforts. The media is more interested in cricket and crime. Our newspapers talk of politics. Our government can make laws for children’s rights. But no one seems to mean to better the lot of the leaders of tomorrow.
Re ‘Companies may have tendency to evade’, Mint, 8 March, the minister noted that manufacturers’ tendency to ‘evade’ is the reason for excise duty collections falling short of target. But consider these:
SSI exemptions: Small units take shelter under this and don’t declare their full output.
Corruption: Evaders and corruption in government departments go hand in hand. The excise department needs to be dismantled. We should go for a unified GST administered by the sales tax department.
And with multiplicity of taxes—excise, sales tax, service tax, FBT, TDS, income tax, then local levies such as octroi—it is a bookkeeper’s nightmare, particularly for an honest taxpayer, and gives multiple opportunities to evaders.
Let there be one tax, and a simple tax regime, easy for the taxpayer, and easy for tax administration and enforcement. Today, precious time of the business sector is consumed in the complexity of tax returns, dealing with many taxmen who blackmail honest taxpayers with arbitrary demands, while the same taxmen collaborate with tax evaders in return for a share of the latter’s booty from robbing the exchequer. No one in government really wants to simplify, though they promise to.
Read Wider Angle, ‘Of babies and a relay race’, Mint, 23 March. I am glad to know that in India we do have families/husbands who give equal importance to their wife’s/daughter-in-law’s career and that companies have a positive stance on this. Not everyone is as lucky. I took a break of around two and a half months from the management consultancy I was working with, before and after my marriage, to spend time with my family. Before that, I asked my management if I could continue working for them in a different city. They agreed.
A few weeks after I rejoined, I was staffed full-time on an onsite project. It has been seven and a half months and I am still on the same project. I have had no good increments, nor a promotion. I asked my management for an additional project as I have lots of spare time but just get some trade-research work on random projects.
As for my family, they think I am too ambitious and too focused on my career objectives and goals.