Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Office of profit

English: Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson, United Pro...

Sonia Gandhi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Madan Mohan Shukla of Congress went after Jaya Bhaduri and got her disqualified as MP for holding chairpersonship of UP Film Development Council which was an office of profit. This opened floodgates for similar petitions. Most prominent petition was against Sonia Gandhi. The effort to bring an ordinance and declare chairmanship of National Advisory Council as not an office was leaked to the press. NDA leaders met President against the ordinance. Sonia Gandhi resigned as MP and chairperson of National Advisory Council. The disqualification of Jaya Bhaduri boomeranged on Congress.

There are petitions against many MPs and MLAs and more are on the way. Congress, BJP and CPI(M) are affected by this. More parties may face trouble.

Sonia Gandhi has been against Samajwadi Party though it was BJP that was opposed to her becoming Prime Minister. Sushma Swaraj and Uma Bharti had led the opposition against her. Now Uma Bharti is out of BJP. Sonia Gandhi should have concentrated on BJP.

Neither bill nor ordinance should be brought to expand the list which mentions which are not offices of profit. The guidelines about office of profit are clear and exceptions made over the years should be revoked.

Visit of Danish Prime Minister

The Government of India has told the Danish Prime Minister that it is not the optimal time to visit India due to cartoon controversy. The Danish Prime Minister should have been allowed to visit India. Most of the protests regarding cartoon controversy were over by the time George Bush left India. The protests this time would have been less. Left would not have joined protests.

Denmark and other countries also can behave similarly towards India. External Affairs are guided by reciprocity. It will not be pleasant if any country asks our Prime Minister to postpone his visit because of protests.

Comments about budget 2006

Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, Mid-day Meal Scheme, Rajiv Gandhi Drinking Water Mission, Total Sanitation Campaign, National Rural Health Mission, Integrated Child Development Services, National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission should be scrapped.

National Social Assistance Programme

Old people should be taken care of by their families or charitable organizations.

Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
Minorities

Maulana Azad Educational Foundation should be run by private individuals. This will save Rs.200 crore.

35. I propose to contribute Rs.16.47 crore to strengthen the equity base of the National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation. In line with the Prime Minister’s announcement on August 15, 2005, the Corporation will intensify its efforts to reach out to artisans and weavers living in urban and peri-urban centres, especially in districts with concentration of minorities.

Whar are peri-urban centres? Are these semi-urban centres?

Promotion of Urdu Language

The State should not promote any language. Urdu is the official language of Jammu & Kashmir & Pakistan. Urdu speakers are spread over several states. Many Urdu speaking parents send their children to English medium schools. Promotion of any language must be left to its speakers and those who like it.

Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya Scheme

The scheme of depositing Rs.3,00 in the name of the girl child who passes the VIII Standard Examination and enrols in a secondary school who would be entitled to withdraw it on reaching 18 years of age should be scrapped.

Public Sector Enterprises

No spending by Government on restructuring Public Sector Enterprises.

Leave developing India as a hub for the gems and jewellery industry to private enterprise.

For years exports were exempt from Income Tax. Diamond merchants made lot of money. Bharat Shat.

AGRICULTURE

Irrigation – dams

Farm Credit – how will it be done? What about NPAs?

Do not set up Special Purpose Tea Fund.

Textiles – Why money for Technology Upgradation Fund? Textile manufacturers are rich.

Jute, Handlooms.

Food Processing Industry

Scrap to scheme to create a separate window with a corpus of Rs.1,000 crore for refinancing loans to the sector.

Petroleum, Chemicals and Petro-chemicals
Leave it to private sector.

Small and Medium Enterprises
No increase in corpus

Cluster Development
Leave it to private sector.

Tourism – leave it to private sector. No concession. Car import scam.

Telecommunication
Leave it to private sector. Let people in villages pay full charges.

Allow private sector in generation, transmission and distribution of power. Scrap five ultra mega projects.

Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana

Let everyone pay full amount. Stop thefts.

Privatise Coal India Ltd.

Maritime Development

Leave it to private sector

Banking, Insurance and Pensions

Recovery of NPAs must be done.

Indian Institue of Science and Universities should be self-financing. No need for grants at anniversaries. (Calcutta, Bombay and Madras) 50

Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, 100

Let 400 ITIS recover money from students.

Backward Regions Grant Fund

Do not allocate Rs.5000 crore.

No special assistance to Jammu & Kashmir.

Cut down the size of the army. Technlogy is important.

To call the events of 1857 First War of Indian Independence is exaggeration. Let people contribute.

Hand over Gandhian Instutions to Gandhians and don’t spend money on Kuttiyattam, Vedic chanting and Ramlila.

Recover loans from states.

Abolish subsidies.

Wind up Planning Commission. Cut down Non-Plan expenditure.

There should be no Revenue Deficit and Fiscal Deficit. There should be Revenue Surplus and Fiscal Surplus.

PART B

Tax proposals

Reduction in customs duties is welcome.

There should be no concessional rates for Export Oriented Units. For many years income from export was exempt from Income Tax. Exporters whose income was crores of rupees did not have to pay Income Tax while an ordinary person with a few thousands of rupees of income had to pay Income Tax. Diamond exporter Bharat Shah could book Wankhede Stadium for the reception of his daughter’s wedding.

Increase in customs duties to protect vanaspati or any other industry is not fair. Our industry needs to be competitive. Other countries can increase customs duties on our products to protect their goods.

Reduction of excise duty from 16 to 8% on dosa and idli mixers can help Chidambaram.

“Domestic manufacturers have sought re-imposition of excise duty at 12 per cent in order to enable them to take CENVAT credit as well as to face competition from imports. I propose to accept the request. Since the 12 per cent excise duty will be eligible for full input tax credit, there should not be any impact on price.”

The excise duty on computers should not have been increased. Domestic manufacturers will benefit. Buyers may have to pay a higher price.

I do not know who is using set top boxes and for what purpose?

It is good to remove exemptions on excise and customs tariffs.

Lawyers should be covered under Service Tax even though Chidambaram feels they do not render any service. He and his wife are lawyers.

Increase in Service Tax should be avoided and it should be brought down from 10% to 9%.

Rates of personal income tax for all should be same. Income tax exemption limit is Rs.1,00,000/- except for women which is Rs.1,25,000/- and senior citizens Rs.1,50,000/-. The exemption limit for all should be Rs.1,50,000/-. Mostly men are the sole earning members and senior citizens do not have to take care of children.

The effect of taxing anonymous or pseudonymous donations to wholly charitable institutions at the highest marginal rate will be known after one year.

“171. Last year, I introduced two new taxes. The Banking Cash Transaction Tax (BCTT) has turned out to be a boon, not for the modest revenues it brought which was never its purpose, but for the remarkable trails that it has helped establish. To cite just one example, huge cash withdrawals in a bank branch in Chandni Chowk, noticed through the BCTT, led the Department of Income Tax to three entities which were carrying on the business of purchasing demand drafts from traders at a discount and helping the traders to avoid both sales tax and income tax. These entities would deposit the demand drafts in their own accounts and withdraw the cash. In a period of 18 months, they had laundered Rs.1,500 crore. BCTT has also helped the Department to detect bogus bills, accommodation entries, artificial loss claims and dummy firms. I propose to continue the BCTT for some more time until the AIR system is able to capture all significant financial transactions.”

It is wrong to pay tax for withdrawing one’s money from bank. Some years ago there was a provision that all banking transactions of Rs.50,000/- and above had to be reported to Income Tax Department. From that Income Tax Department could have found out about tax evasion. Why was that not done?

States have VAT. Why they have to be compensated when Central Sales Tax is phased out?

There are subsidies not mentioned in the budget. They should go. Haj subsidy should go. Government money should not be spent on pilgrimages and other religious practices.

Government should not spend money on cultural institutions. Dance, Drama, Music, literature etc should be promoted by private individuals and institutions.

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