‘Are you a tax payer?’ asked my teenage daughter’s friend. She found this question funny and said, ‘No!’ The reason for her to find the question funny is, she hasn’t started earning. I started thinking about the tax system in India. My daughter who has no earnings is not a tax payer ‘only technically’. But practically, she pays tax! You find this intriguing? Let me explain.
Every Indian from birth starts paying indirect tax and continues to pay various taxes until he/she dies. Right from tooth brush to property, whatever you buy you are expected to pay various taxes to state and central governments, with different names like, sales tax, service tax, VAT - value added tax (even if no value is added), etc.
There are some taxes levied by state government and some other taxes levied by the central government. It’s ridiculous, even when the consumer is not selling anything, he has to pay the ‘sales tax’ while he is actually ‘buying’ something. When someone avails of a service, he is bound to pay service tax. When we are tired of eating at home, we go out to eat. VAT on the food price plus service tax for the services rendered by the restaurant.
Taxes are fixed as a percentage on the commodity’s price. As a result, as the price increases, the taxes also increase. Ultimately, the burden is on the citizen. Now, let’s go back to basics. A person pays 10% as income tax and out of the balance 90%, he goes on paying indirect taxes in his daily transactions! Is it fair???
Another aspect to this – What do the tax payers get for paying so much to the state and central govts.? How is the standard of living? Is it on par with the developed countries? Most of the roads are really badly laid. Even water has to be purchased. For healthcare, one has to pay through his nose. For education, it is still worse. Right from primary to university studies, parents have to sacrifice a lot to allot a big chunk of their income for their children’s education!
With such high cost of living the income tax slab is kept as Rs.2.5 lacs. Even if a person earns a rupee more, he becomes a tax payer. In other words, a person earning 20,833.41 per month has to pay income tax! Then his disposable monthly income will be only Rs.18,750/-! With the amount left with him after paying a number of indirect taxes, what kind of living a person can have in this country? Are we not oppressed? Is it not injustice?
Why there is no hue and cry about taxes? Because, we are all immersed in our 3G, 4G, TV serials and politics. Discussing politics is a hobby for many in this country. That’s why our politicians make politics out of everything to divert our minds from the core issues. We, great citizens of India, live up to their expectations. We don’t even ask for our rights, as tax payers.
When will we wake up and look for a leader who only concern is citizen’s welfare? Yes, we have a leadership crisis. We need a ‘LEADER’ not a politician.