Month: March 2012

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 Bid to host it should be withdrawn.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.

SBI and Hotel Leela

SBI did not get back the loan it gave to Kingfisher. Kingfisher was bailed out by converting the loan into shares. Now comes the news that SBI has referred 4,300 crore rupees loan taken by Hotel Leela to corporate debt restructuring (CDR). It is said that Hotel Leela has not defaulted. It wants interest rate reduced from 14% to 11% and longer schedule for payment. Perhaps the owner of Hotel Leela thinks he can default and get away just like Vijay Mallya of Kingfisher did. Hotel Leela perhaps wants the same treatment. Who is next in line for default? How is that SBI gave thousands of crores of rupees as loan and unable to recover them? Pilots of Air India and Jet Airways are likely to go on strike. Will SBI and other public sector banks bail out every airline, hotel, tea estate and so on? SBI and other public sector banks are not private property of Manmohan Singh, Veerappa Moily, Congress or UPA.

What is going on? Where are people who speak against loan write-offs, freebies and subsidies? Where are economists who speak of fiscal deficit?

There was no discussion on TV channels about CDR to Leela. What are they waiting for? Will they discuss after Leela defaults and asks for another loan?

SBI should stop CDR. Those who borrow must pay as per agreement. Interest should not be reduced. Payment period should not be extended. Hotel Leela must have pledged something as collateral for loan. SBI should attach the collateral.

Rahul Dravid retires

On 9/3/2012 Rahul Dravid announced his retirement from international and domestic first class cricket. Anil Kumble and BCCI President N. Srinivasan were with him. In 164 Tests, he had 36 centuries, scored 13,288 runs with an average of 52.31, 210 catches and one wicket that is of Ridley Jacobs. In 344 ODIs he scored 10,889 runs with an average of 39.16, 12 centuries, 196 catches and four wickets including one of Saeed Anwar. His T20 match against England was his debut match and retirement match. He was known as the Wall. When he batted well the headline was the Wall stands tall.

Rahul Dravid made Test debut at Lord’s in 1996. He scored 95. That was also the Test where Sourav Ganguly made his debut, hit a century, and overshadowed Rahul Dravid. Rahul Dravid’s first Test century came at Johannesburg in 1997. His highest Test runs in an Innings was 270 at Rawalpindi in 2004.

In 2001 at Calcutta Rahul Dravid partnered V. V. S. Laxman in fightback against Australia after India were asked to follow-on having scored 275 runs less than Australia. Rahul Dravid scored 180. V. V. S. Laxman scored 281*. In 2003-4 tour of Australia at Adelaide he scored 233 and 72* and India won the Test. Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag were once close to breaking Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy’s world record for first wicket.

For most of Rahul Dravid’s captaincy Gregory Stephen Chappell was coach. When G. S. Chappell began as coach Sourav Ganguly was captain and Rahul Dravid was vice captain. Chappell did not want Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and Sachin Tendulkar in the team. Sourav Ganguly was out of team after winning a series in Zimbabwe. Zaheer Khan was also out of the team. Both players returned to the team. The relationship between Chappell and many players was strained. Rahul Dravid was lonely. After Chappell’s term expired Chandu Borde became coach.

As Test captain Rahul Dravid’s record was mixed. Against Pakistan he lost a Test and consequently a series. Pakistan were 0/3 and 39/6 on the first day of third Test which India lost. In 2006 he won a Test series 1-0 in West Indies. At Kingston he scored 81 and 68 when wickets kept falling and led India to victory. India won the series in West Indies after 35 years. Against England he won a series 1-0. India won the series in England after 21 years. In one Test at Oval in 2007 he did not enforce follow-on in spite of having 312 runs lead and that Test ended in draw. India should have won the series 2-0. Against South Africa he lost the series 1-2 which India should have won 2-1.

As ODI captain Rahul Dravid won matches consecutively in the beginning. After India won the first ODI in West Indies Chappell said West Indies have forgotten how to win. That motivated West Indies and they won the next four ODIs. It was disaster in ODI World Cup 2007.

Rahul Dravid decided not to lead T20 side in World Cup 2007. Mahendra Singh Dhoni became captain of T20 team. While the tournament was in progress he quit as captain. India won the cup. Anil Kumble became Test captain and Dhoni ODI captain. Dhoni did not want seniors in the team. Rahul Dravid was out of ODI team. He was recalled for ODIs in South Africa and dropped again.

Shahid Afridi spoke of Pakistani’s being large hearted. He should have remembered India’s large heartedness and Pakistan’s small heartedness in an ODI where Saeed Anwar scored 192 and created a world record and Pakistan won the match. India had allowed Saeed Anwar to use a runner and Shahid Afridi was the runner. When Rahul Dravid batted Pakistan’s captain Rameez Raja first allowed Sachin Tendulkar to be runner. When it appeared Rahul Dravid will lead India to victory Rameez Raja withdrew the permission and did not allow Sachin Tendulkar to continue as runner. At the end Rahul Dravid was overcome by fatigue and India lost the ODI.

Rahul Dravid’s best time as cricketer was in England in 2011. He scored three centuries in four Tests which India lost. He was unexpectedly selected to play ODIs and T20 and he retired from ODIs and T20 at the end of the tour.

Rahul Dravid’s last Test series was a disappointment. India lost to Australia 0-4. Rahul Dravid was bowled six times out of eight. He did not score many runs. There was criticism of senior cricketers.

Rahul Dravid holds the record of highest Test catches, in Test runs aggregate he is second. Whether there will be another cricketer like him in Indian team is difficult to tell. India did not have an opener like Sunil Gavaskar and an all rounder like Kapil Dev after they retired. West Indies were once a great team. A player has to retire some day and Rahul Dravid chose the day.