Petty Nation, Hefty Taxes

taxes in indiaHere is my thing. I pay 35 different kind of taxes each year. I would be happy to pay another University Cess to create 100 more JNUs, BHUs and AMUs. Because the societal problems we face will not be solved by B.Techs and MBAs but administrators coming from state/central universities. They study problems of cultures, societies and countries. The uneducated leadership in parliament must be replaced by educated scholars from these universities. And they may be from the left, the right or the Centre.

We are a petty nation. Every discussion is brought down to the lowest common denominator. We seek subsidies, lobby for licenses, avoid/evade taxes. We hate the Minimum Support price to farmers, debt waiver to agriculture while giving loan restructuring packages to corporates. And now we are talking of not funding JNU students from our taxes. Seriously INDIA? OUR TAXES includes MY TAXES too. We surely can discuss our education system but discussing funding of higher education is beyond being petty. It is pedestrian. Students studying in most state and central universities are admitted on merit. They come from ordinary families. The diversity of the cohort makes it the best learning environment to understand people, society, culture and countries. There are no better people to bring a perspective in our administrative decision making than those educated in these universities.

But what chance do we have from a middle class that is enraged by the Biryani served to Kasab, angered by the subsidised food to parliamentarians or the few crores lost because of adjournments to parliament? Thanks to online petitions by idiots who took up this very important cause, the government did withdraw the canteen subsidy benefitting us by a crore! HAAPPY? The discussion was not about unravelling the Mumbai attacks through Kasab, exposing Pakistan and the diplomatic victory; It was not about the billions of dollars wasted for delayed approvals, postponed legislation etc. because of a non-functional parliament.


A petty nation has little chance. And we have more petty people than any other nation on earth. Can we make the little chance to a greater chance? Can we rise above our pettiness?

Here are some of the taxes we pay, and hand it to the government of the day. And I am sure I missed out many.

Income tax
Wealth tax
Sales tax
Service tax
Corporate tax
Swach Bharat tax
Education tax
Import tax
Export tax
Motor vehicle tax
Airport tax
Road tax
Travel tax
Luxury tax
Entertainment tax
Municipal tax
Transportation tax(octroi)
Health tax
Education tax
Retirement tax
Pension tax
Provident fund tax
Interest tax
Dividend tax
Minimum alternate tax
Capital gains tax
Property tax
Patent tax
Justice tax
Inheritance tax
Gift tax
Cable tax
Luxury tax

To reduce the deficit we may soon have the following being treated as deemed income and charged to tax:

Home maker tax
Happiness tax
Home entertainment tax
Resting at home tax
Being healthy tax
Meritorious student tax
Intelligence tax
Wisdom tax
Peace time tax
etc etc …….

The problem is grave. The economy hasn’t revived and the government is still focussing on managing fiscal deficit targets. It had a tax collection target of Rs. 14.49 lac crores of which 7.97 lac crores was to come from direct taxes and Rs. 6.47 lac crores from indirect taxes. The economy hasn’t revived, and so have corporate profitability and income levels of people leading to a shortfall of collections in direct taxes by an estimated Rs. 40,000 crores. Crude comes to the rescue as the government doesn’t pass the benefit of falling oil prices to consumers. Indirect taxes grew @33% compared to last year and overshoot the budget estimates by Rs. 45000 crores.

Indirect taxes is an easy way. The short cut. It is forced on us. When you can’t revive the economy, force people to pay even if they starve and the economy reels. This government will force more indirect taxes on us as they are not confident of a revival. A rise in direct taxes means hard work and they have certainly given up on it. They will not trust us Indians to attain profitability because they know the government’s failings better. So, they will loot us at the top line.

taxes and budget

This year’s budget even made sure of it with reduction in the income tax rates ( Popular and cheerleader) and  an increase in the indirect tax rates. Service tax, especially.

So, they will rob you at the top while reducing the tax on any profits (if you still make some). And we will have cheerleaders cheering without understanding the implications.

A poem that I remember, fits right the present situation that government had led people to.

Tax his land, tax his bed,
Tax the table at which he’s fed.
Tax his tractor, tax his mule,
Teach him taxes are the rule.

Tax his cow, tax his goat,
Tax his pants, tax his coat.
Tax his ties, tax his shirt,
Tax his work, tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco, tax his drink.
Tax him if he tries to think.
Tax his cigars, tax his beers,
If he cries, then tax his tears.

Tax his car, tax his gas,
Find other ways to tax his ass.
Tax all he has, then let him know,
That you won’t be done ’til he has no dough.

When he screams and hollers,
Tax him some more.
Tax him ’till he’s good and sore.
Then tax his coffin, tax his grave.
Tax the sod in which he’s laid.

Put these words upon his tomb,
“Taxes drove me to my doom.”
When he’s gone, do not relax.
It’s time to apply the inheritance tax.

~ Anonymous

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