Letters to the editor: Taking care of tax troubles

Updated: Nov 30 2013, 10:29am hrs
This refers to the editorial Taxing times (FE, November 29). A very interesting observation has been made in the PwC report on paying taxes, one of significance and one that could change the way our government always appears to be low on revenue and the taxman running after supposed defaulters to get his rightful due. As many as 243 hours are spent in India to pay taxes versus just 82 in Singapore. It's a bad result which should nudge the tax department to get its actions right. It has initiated steps to change the system, but the question can be correctly framed in Angela Merkels words: The question is not whether we are changing, but are we changing fast enough Banks already have a humongous database of peoplein the form of KYC documents, PAN, credit card numbers, spending habitsall this needs to be monitored in an efficient yet un-intrusive manner to the benefit of both the public and the government. The tax net has to be cast wide and deep rather than closing in tightly the existing catch. It is indeed a challenge, but we need to fast-track Aadhaar enrolment also. It would help give a digital identity to every living soul in this country and then may create a system which automatically looks for discrepancies in income and spending.

Gaurav Gupta, New Delhi

Policy bitters

The sugar mess in Uttar Pradesh is of the states own making. Instead of Sugar-coating bad policies (FE, November 28), the government should be able to formulate policies that are innovative and progressive without causing any new drain on the economy or harm to the economy. The present crisis arises because of the high state advised price to please farmers. It has been rightly pointed out by Ashok Gulati, the chairman of CACP, that the Centre should stay away from the UP sugar mess (FE, November 28). The Uttar Pradesh government should bear the difference of the price between the state advised price and the remunerative free price. It may apply to other states as well.

Jacob Sahayam Thiruvananthapuram

No temporary medicine

Apropos of the editorial Sugar-coating bad policies (FE, November 28), the Uttar Pradesh governments endeavour to rescue the sugarcane farmers and mill-owners by any loan package seems tentative and electoral-gain-oriented one. The permanent solution lies in completely decontrolling the sugar sector, so that equilibrium and flexible prices could be fixed which will not pinch the cost and revenue structure of the mill-owners and the sugarcane growers. The state advised price is the factor that is creating all the problem and a temporary solution of any nature will aggravate the problem. Complete decontrol alone can bring about transparency among the stakeholders.

NR Nagarajan