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A tax-regime that throttles nation building
August, 12th 2008

While passing through a hospital, a dog saw an ant sitting on a bench in the hospital. The dog stopped and asked the ant:

Hey, ant! Are you here?
But why?

A serious operation is being performed upon on an elephant in the hospital and in order to fulfill any need of blood I am sitting here.

Broadness, benevolence and mercy, are the three fundamental features of Indian culture and society, which is culture-oriented and has never ignored these features. Fortunately, the society always got the rulers, who didnt bring the policies, which discourage this broadness, kindness and mercy. In Indian society, the activity, which expresses these features most effectively, is donation and charity. That is why Indian culture greatly appreciates the concept of donation, particularly anonymous donation. Actually, donation is a mean to develop love and cooperation between the higher class and lower class of the society. In addition to this, the donation is one of the most powerful things to increase the socio-economic equality in the society. The society, which has become mature during the process of developing benevolence and upliftment, can truly establish the fillings of charity in the society. Indian society has always encouraged these fillings of charity and donation. But this great tradition came under the crisis due to the 30 per cent taxation on the anonymous donation, which has been imposed by the Government!

I dont know how much amount of rupees is going to be received by the Government but it is sure that this tax is spreading a negative massage among the donors. When a donor comes to know that the Government will capture 30 rupees out of his 100 rupees donation, his tendency of giving donation will definitely decrease.

I have heard that in Britain each charitable organisation gets 28 pound from the Government on the donation of 100 pound. This Governmental effort inspires the donors. On the contrary, Indian Government captures 30 rupees out of the 100 rupees donation, which is received by any charitable organisation! What is the sense of this policy? The answer is clear that any charitable institution of Britain receives 128 pound on the donation of 100 pound and in India any charitable institution receives only 70 rupees on the donation of 100 rupees. How pity this!

The Government argues in support of this taxation that people are converting their black money into white money in the name of charity and in order to diminish this tendency it has imposed this tax. We cant refuse the Kaliyugi tendency of doing business in the name of charity, but Government must have given attention towards those organisations which are genuinely devoted to charity and service and Government should have provided exemption to these genuine charitable organisations. In this context, it is remarkable that this tax is unconstitutional and inhuman for those organisations that run Orphanage Home, Old age home, Pashushala, Goushala etc., because our Constitution directs the Government to give social security to these oppressed classes of the society. The painful reality is this that the organisations that perform these kinds of valuable activities always have fewer funds than their need. In this situation, these organisations will come under financial crisis.

On top of all these contradictions, the hard-reality is that those people who kill the animals for exporting the meat, get 13 types of subsidies and the people who are saving/protecting the precious animals in the Goushala and Panjrapol have to pay this 30 per cent tax !!! This is the biggest example of negative and inhuman policies of the present UPA Government. Punishment for defender and award for murderer!!! How can we tolerate this in a democratic country like India?

In this regard, some attentive persons had raised this issue in this Budget Session. During the debate Finance Minister P. Chidambaram clarified that any charitable organisation can get the exemption on condition that they have to maintain a register for noting the name and address of the donor. Perhaps, the Finance Minister does not know the organisation that is facing the financial shortage, how can it bear the expenses of this administrative cost? Who will bear this expense? Donee, donor or Government? In this regard, Finance Minister hasnt clarified.

One another practical difficulty is that these kinds of genuine charitable organisations receive large part of their amount through the donation box and people generally drop very little amount like ten rupees, twenty rupees, etc. in this donation box. In this condition, how can it be possible to maintain a register for name and address of such donors. And if an organisation maintains this register than who will be ready to give donation?

After analysing this whole scenario, being a saint, I heartily feel that the Governments base of imposing tax is not appropriate. Tax should be imposed on the basis of the end use of money, not on the basis of the source of money! Imagine that by the use of so called white money, one kills another person and by the use of so-called black money, one defends another person. What is appropriate in this? There is no need to clarify that the money which is used for defending someone is the best use of money.

Thus, I just want to say that Government should decide its policy on the basis of the end use of money not on the basis of source of money. If a person uses his money for the benefit of society, Government should exempt this money from the tax.

Today, there are millions of people, whose survival is totally depend upon these kinds of genuine charitable organisations. In the developed countries, in the name of social security, Government itself accepts the responsibility of taking care of exploited, tortured and needy people. While in the country like India society has accepted this responsibility. The prosperous, hearty and responsible noblemen contribute to fulfill this responsibility. And on the basis of this contribution, millions of destitute are passing their life easily. Instead of giving subsidy and other incentives to these organisations, Government is imposing tax on them!

There are four kinds of people in the world - 1: Some people become happy while making others happy. 2: Some people become happy while they show that others are happy. 3: Some people become happy while they show that others are unhappy. 4: some persons become happy while making others unhappy. I dont feel that there is any need to clarify that the present Government is appropriate for which one of the above categories.

I, myself, realise that Government should give complete exemption to at least the charitable organisations, which are mentioned below. The Petition Committee of Rajya Sabha has also sought the opinion of people on these issues.

* Orphanage homes
* Old age homes
* Neat house and cow pen
* Institutions which are related to handicapped people
* Hospitals of birds and cattle
* Institutions that cure the deadly disease at no cost
* Institutions which give shelter to oppressed people at no cost
* Institutions that give meal at no cost
* Institutions which are made for giving human services in disastrous conditions and
* Institutions, which are related to widows and divorced women.

If the Government feels necessary, it can amend this list. As far as my thinking is concern, Government can add something more in this list but it will be inhuman and unjustified to short-out anything from this list. Some people have launched a signature campaign in Surat, Ahemedabad, Mumbai, Vidarbha and Maharashtra against this move of the government. Over one lakh signatures are being collected from different people.

At last, during the operation of an elephant, if an ant is ready to donate her blood to the elephant, after knowing the truth that anybody has to pay tax for the donation, do you believe that after this tax, any ant will be ready to donate the blood?

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