An open letter to PM: Why should we pay tax?
- The anguish of an ordinary citizen
Dear Prime Minister Modiji,
My name is Prasad. I run a small industry in Balanagar, Hyderabad. I get an income of around Rs 2 lakh per month. That means a yearly income of Rs 24 lakhs. For this amount if I pay tax genuinely, that will be Rs 3 lakh per year. But I will pay Rs 30,000 only. Why?
I have born in a small middle class family. With lots of hardships, I completed my studies. Doing a small job, I saved each and every rupee and reached a stage of establishing an industry. Out of my monthly income Rs 2 lakhs, I keep one lakh rupees for my family expenditure and the remaining one lakh I invest in lands and gold. From my expenses, Rs 30,000 will go to the government as indirect taxes. If I purchase anything from grocery or a TV set or a mobile phone, 20 to 30 percent tax is levied. If I enjoy a wine party with my friends, it will cost Rs 3,000, then 60% tax is levied on it. If I buy one liter of petrol, Rs 30 is the tax that goes to the Exchequer.
After purchasing a car I paid one and half lakh rupees as tax to the government. After purchasing a land in my colony where there is no road facility, government collected Rs 50,000 as development charge from me. After seeing the prevailing conditions in government hospitals and the exploitation in corporate hospitals, I was forced to go for a health insurance policy. Even there, the government is not hesitating to levy service tax on it. The government is imposing taxes even on the funeral pyre, like thugs. What the government is doing for our sake?
If we join our children in government schools, is there any guarantee that they will get a good education? If anybody is admitted to the government hospital, is there any guarantee that he will return fully recovered? Except country’s security and building roads, we are not able to understand what type of development is taking place.
If we drive on the road, you are squeezing us with toll tax. Where our money is going? If we want to increase the salary of an employee, first we observe the working nature of that person then we will decide how much increment is to be given. But in the government, whether an employee works or not, everyone gets paid equally. Even one performs his duties sincerely, he is not rewarded.
Taking the salaries with our taxes, the employees do not feel obligated to do our work. They will come to the office at 11AM instead of 10AM. Without paying bribe they won’t do any single work. Then for what purpose we are paying taxes to the government? If I want to run my industry, I have to pay bribe to each and every body. Every month I am paying Rs10,000 as bribe to the concerned department people. Then how can we show all these corrupted money as white? This is only the reason we get heart burning while paying the taxes. But don’t think me as socially irresponsible person. When you asked for contribution to military fund, I paid Rs 10,000. I contribute Rs 20,000 every year to an orphanage in my village. I contributed Rs 1 lakh on my father’s name for renovation of a school in my village. But I don’t like to pay tax to the government.
All this is history. At present we do our all transactions in white. As you said if I turn my Rs 10 lakh black money into white by paying Rs 3 laky as tax, can you assure me that day to day works of mine will be done without paying Rs 10,000 as bribe? Or do you permit your employees to take bribes in the form of cheques?
Till now I did not mention about political leaders. At the time of elections, I have to pay contributions from roadside leaders to MLAs. These funds shall be given to all party leaders. Otherwise they start creating problems. Can you bring an Act to collect these party funds in the form of cheques? Can you transparently reveal your total collected party funds? Till now we are paying a lot of our money to the government in the form of taxes. Then what type of services we are receiving from the government? We don’t want to pay taxes for the sake of leaders who spend lavishly and for the payment of salaries to the government employees who don’t work.
As far as possible we will try to avoid paying the tax. Within a decade, black money will reach its peak level. Like now, again can you change the currency? We have elected you not for this purpose Sir. Even since you demonetized 500 and 1000 rupee notes, our workers have been bearing this hardship, without money in their hands, only because of the trust in you. Make sure that the trust in you remains intact. Do justice to the tax paid by us. Then we will pay our taxes genuinely. When two hands touches each other then only it becomes clap. Our hand is ready…weighting for your hand.
(The letter, written in Telugu, is making rounds on WhatsApp. Its origin is not known. The person identified himself as Prasad can be real or fictitious. But the points he raised are real to the core and most relevant. Comments are welcome)