Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Abolish Service Tax

Twenty years ago there was no Service Tax. Constitution was amended and Service Tax was brought in. It began at 5% on some items. Later it went up to 8%, 10% and 12%. After the depression of 2008 it was brought down to 10%. Now it is back to 12%. More items came under Service Tax. Now all items except 17 in the negative list are covered by Service Tax. All Indians pay Service Tax directly or indirectly. Most Indians own mobile phones and they pay Service Tax when they recharge or pay bills.

The government should abolish Service Tax. The loss of revenue can be recovered in various ways.

1) Abolish NREGA, NRHM, JNNURM and various schemes named after Nehru-Gandhi family. They are full of corruption. Murders have taken place to prevent the corrupt being exposed.

2) Attach properties of defaulters to public sector banks. Thousands of crores of rupees have been lost. SBI had to be recapitalised to prevent from bankruptcy. Now 15,890 crore rupees are set apart for recapitalization of NABARD, SBI, National Housing Bank and other banks. Companies like Essar, Kingfisher (7,000 crores), Hotel Leela (4,300 crores) and Paramount (500 crores) borrow huge amounts and when they do not repay, people of India are made to pay more taxes.

3) Auction Rashtrapathi Bhavan in Delhi as whole or in parts. That should get 1,00,000 crore rupees or more. Rashtrapathi Bhavan in Simla and Rashtrapathi Nilayam in Hyderabad can also be auctioned. The President of India need not live in imperial splendour.

4) Auction various government properties. It is not the job of government to conduct film festivals. The building in Goa where film festivals are held can be auctioned. There is no reason why taxpayers should finance Indian Olympic Association. IOA is not accountable to the government. Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Talkatora Stadium, Shivaji Stadium and other stadia and sports complexes can be auctioned. Similarly various centres for promotion of art, culture, music etc. should be auctioned.

5) Stop building new universities. Taxpayers’ money should not be spent on new universities. Existing universities should finance themselves from fees.

6) National awards should not carry money. Some awards carry money up to one crore rupees.

7) Avoid unnecessary expenditure. Money should not be spent to host FIFA Under-17 World Cup. Bid to host it should be withdrawn.

8) Saturday should be a working day for central government employees. Benefits like leave travel concession should be withdrawn.

These are some suggestions. NGOs who protest on various issues can protest against Service Tax. They can have chain hunger strike. They will have support all over the country.

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