This refers to the debate column “Is tax rebate for plastic money a good idea?” by Madan Sabnavis (July 2). He has made a very sensible analysis of the government offer of the proposed tax rebate on the use of plastic money by the merchants and consumers alike. The key areas of black money generation in the country—real estate, jewellery, forex, etc—have been identified by him. Moreover, he has also “revealed” the inside story of various banks who play a hidden cost game in respect of credit cards (an existing category of the plastic money) and systemically earn a lot of money. No wonder then that the hapless customers is sheepishly volunteers to be taken for a ride. But, there can’t be two opinions about the fact that such a move will facilitate convenience both for the consumers and the government. In all fairness, the proposed offer of tax rebate could be a half-baked move as our largely cash-based economy is not fully geared for such a shift and for obvious reasons. Is the R1-lakh limit proposed by the government for this purpose justified at all in the context of extant economic scenario? Of course, not. The government must not only duly provide the requisite basic infrastructure, rationalise its related tax structure and suitably upgrade its “monitoring” mechanism but also bring in full transparency while dealing with both merchants and the consumers if it truly aims at reining in black money through its “out of the box” idea. However, since banks will consequently get rid of their huge “burden” of cash handling, they must take the lead in this zero-sum game. Needless to say, it is not going to be a cake-walk and this exercise could be a long-drawn process. Mind you, the old habits die hard.
L’affaire Lalit Modi
Apropos of “Lalit Modi offered board position to Swaraj Kaushal” (July 2), it is unfortunate that the dirty linen in the Lalit Modi case continues to be washed, involving Sushma Swaraj, the external affairs minister, and Vasundhara Raje, the Rajasthan chief minister. The NDA government at the Centre, which had been boasting of a corruption-free rule, is definitely at a sticky wicket with the surfacing of the case and the R206-crore scam in which Pankaja Munde, a BJP minister the Maharashtra Cabinet, is allegedly involved in. Skeletons are falling out of the cupboards of those tainted ministers almost everyday, blackening the the face of the saffron government beyond recognition. All this could have been avoided if only our prime minister, who still remains tight- lipped about these serious allegations, had initiated action against his minister and party members and had taken a conscientious and right decision to oust those who shamelessly walk around like holy cows even after having been thoroughly exposed in scandals by the media. But we cannot expect this from Modi because it busts his corruption-free bubble!
Tharcius S Fernando
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