To whomsoever concerned or not concerned,
I am yet another frustrated Indian and here are some of my frustrated thoughts.
Every week we have the media revealing 2-3 new large scams in this country. Just when the media took some time off the Delhi CWG Games Scam, we now have the Mumbai Adarsh Society Scam. Then we have the inquiry into the large 2G spectrum allocation Scandal, and now that the 3G spectrum allocation is over, guess soon there will be another 3G Scandal. Some scams are though so large that, multiple scams are given a single name, like the Delhi CWG Scam which has multiple multi-crore scandals woven into it, to name a few like the CWG Broadcast Scandal, overpaid CWG purchase or overpaid CWG rental scams.
Image Courtesy: Corruption in slum rehabilitation
Gone are the days when there used to be one or two multi-crore scams like Harshad Mehta’s Hawala scandal or Lalloo’s fodder scam. Nowadays every scandal that gets unrevealed is so huge that media terms each new scam as the Mother of all Scams! One can only imagine how so many mother scams co-exist so peacefully in our society. Nowadays it is a rule of thumb for a scandal to be present in any public or private, corporate or government business deal. Forget business deals, even government programs meant to uplift the poor and needy like the schemes under NREGA, relief funds, government subsidies all are filled with tonnes of scams.
And obviously in the world’s largest democracy, democracy itself is the biggest business too. If one looks at the multi-crore buying and selling of MLA’s in Bangalore by both the opposition parties and the ruling party, one can only imagine at what low level Indian democracy is functioning today. In this case of bribing MLAs, the sting operations were carried out not by journalists or the media on the political parties, but by the political parties themselves who carried sting operations on each other. And to prove what? That it’s not just me who is corrupt, even the other one is corrupt too, so please allow me to continue to be corrupt.
Image Courtesy: Corruption Free India
Now my worry is much more deeper. If these are the scandals that come into the limelight everyday, just imagine how much more is going on behind the scenes which never comes to light. Assuming general statistics I guess what comes into lime light is just 5-10% of the scandals. Without any doubts, India is the richest country in the world with poorest people.
Ok, fine, to hell with political and administrative corruption. I can’t help it. Shall I at least be allowed to earn my money honestly and live happily with it? Well, not possible in a democracy. Because the democratic rule is that, the more you earn honestly, the bigger crime you are committing and the more you have to pay as a fine in the form of – what else – INCOME TAX! More important, this thing called INCOME TAX is not applicable if you earn illegally be it by political or administrative corruption or by plundering natural resources via your political nexus. And the more you earn illegally the more you will be protected from having to pay any INCOME TAX or any other form of FINE.
Image Courtesy: India among most corrupt nations
Somebody once said, and very rightly in the Indian Context – I was born free, but I have pay tax to live. Why do I object to paying tax? Well, look at the tax rates first, on income you pay upto 30% tax, and does it end there? No. You buy something outside, you have to pay VAT – and if you don’t want the receipt, then you can skip VAT – again I am forced into this web of corruption. You go to a good restaurant to have a nice dinner, pay service tax there. You have saved good amount and want to put it in a Fixed Deposit, and remember this is the amount you saved after already having paid 30% Income Tax, and in spite of that the interest on the Deposit will be taxed. You pay tax when you buy petrol for your vehicle. I mean one can go on and on and on. One sometimes feels like giving out all the money to the Income Tax department and then ask them to take care about all our expenditures. It is so frustrating.
But isn’t it our duty to pay taxes? Yes. But that is when you are getting the benefits for paying the tax, like:
- When you are getting uninterrupted power supply so that you don’t get frustrated when the power simply goes off every alternate day for hours.
- When you are getting good supply of drinking water everyday.
- When the roads you drive are tarred adequately with no potholes so that your everyday travel doesn’t become an expedition on some lunar surface full of craters.
- When there are no drainage pits lying open on a rainy night and you don’t have to be scared about falling in some open ditch while driving.
- When you are assured that the tax you are paying is utilized properly to help the poor and needy in the country without getting swallowed by corrupt politicians and administrators.
- When the children studying government schools are getting quality education. When the poor are getting good quality ration and regularly instead of having the grains rotting in government granaries.
- When the government hospitals are giving quality treatment to the poor patients without they having to bribe each and every pillar in the hospital.
- When the government officials in all the government departments respond to your queries with a smiling face instead of staring at you with a paralyzed look and a frowned face as if they are doing some great favor to you, while the fact being that they are being paid using the tax money I pay and they are there to serve the people of this country.
- When the government institutions ensure that politicians are not able to swindle crores of rupees of public money converting it into their private assets and stacking them up in secret swiss bank account.
When none of these things are happening, why on earth should I pay my task, and to serve what purpose? Is the government and the politicians some mafia raj that can loot a percentage of my income? Instead of paying tax to the government can’t I use the same tax money to get two or three poor brilliant students good quality education? I thought I will at least go and petition the government to compensate for the taxes I have paid, by naming the street where my house is, after my name – “Frustrated Indian Street“, but then after seeing the plight of that road, well there was no road actually, just a few patches of tar here and there – I gave up on that thought too.
Image Courtesy: Corruption and Reforms
And in spite of all these frustrated feelings of an Indian wanting desperate changes in this self-proclaimed vibrant democracy
- I continue to pay my tax
- I continue to watch news channels show breaking news on new corruption scandals
- I continue to approach government offices to get my work done even though they don’t like me and they frown and yell at me
- I continue to pen down my thoughts like this with a hope that our future generation who read this article will laugh at me saying “This guy must be joking”, because the India they live in will be an India that I WANTED to live in.