Interesting thoughts of citizens of India as to why some Indians, more so from the businesses and trading communities resist paying taxes. As the historic GST is introduced at the stroke of midnight on 01 July 2017 across India , the chatter across social media forums has risen to unprecedented levels. Lets capture the spikes shooting up in the past 24 hours on the subject.

From an intelligent sneak peek into this chatter, it becomes apparent that the Indian populace as a whole is not against the various direct and indirect taxations that the Govt of India imposes knowing fully well that its this taxpayers money that forms a major contribution towards the progress and development of our country. However the present state of social issues, the business environment, the societal concerns, the (mis)managements by erstwhile governments are all reasons enough to only leave the public apprehensive and scurrying to fend for themselves.

Over the past decades, all the factors cited above fine tuned themselves to form a sensitive societal balance, both economic and administrative. It was this balance that intrinsically energised the nation and propelled it on the path of progress taking giant strides towards a thriving and prosperous identity, surging ahead of many nations, across continents.

While being a part of the chatter, I happened to come across some interesting views that I personally feel need to be shared with the govt and above all, the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi. This could at best serve as a glimpse to gauge the issues that the society faces today and what it thinks about them. There is certainly no iota of doubt that what Mr Modi does, will be for the betterment of the nation but hearing the views of the common man directly without any filters could sure serve as a possible opportunity to implement corrective measures for the benefit of the masses, without compromising the national interest that remains paramount.

In the same context, reproducing herein an excerpt of an open letter doing rounds on Whats App forums, directly addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It frankly brings out some concerns and public views that are to an extent logical and worth giving an ear to. Though, keeping the larger interests of the country in mind from a Prime Ministers perspective, even if these points aren’t actionable, these certainly reflect the perceptions of many about the system and governance they are faced with today and hence could be noted and pondered. The letter begins in all humbleness, addressing Mr Modi directly and builds up as below in quotes.

“Dear Modiji,

This is what we honest citizens feel about our Governments – Central and State. On behalf of professionals & businessmen, I am sending you some facts . Please try to understand we are not doing Tax ‘”Chori”‘… this is tax saving (a bit of evading too). This is to ensure security of our family, kids and their future for any adversity._

  1. We bought Generators/Inverter in our houses, because Govt. failed to provide constant electricity.
  2. We installed submersible pumps, because Govt. failed to provide regular water supply. 
  3. We hired own security guards, because Govt. failed to provide security.
  4. We send our kids to private schools, because Govt failed to provide good education in public schools.
  5. We headed for private hospitals to avail proper care and treatment, because Govt. failed to provide good public hospitals.
  6. We bought cars because Govt. failed to provide good transportation._

Finally, what the tax payer gets in return on retirement, when he needs most to survive ?

Nothing, no social security. But instead, his hard earned income resource is used by Government to distribute subsidies and freebies in the name of welfare schemes among masses to buy “free votes” to those who don’t pay any taxes.

Above all what Govt does with our (tax) money?
– Open courts-which do not give judgement or take a lifetime to decide cases.
– Open police stations which work for the mighty and the connected, and barely protect citizens.
– Open hospitals which do not treat us well.
– Build roads wherein 40-100% of budgeted money spent goes into deep pockets of the corrupt.
And the list goes on endlessly….

Like western democracies, if Indian Government could provide all the above, more so the social security then why would anyone save taxes?

It’s common knowledge that major tax revenues collected from us are consumed by many, certainly not all, corrupt government officials and politicians (billions of dollars remain lying in foreign banks).

A manufacturer works at a margin of between 2% to 10%, whereas government needs major chunk of his income to cover it’s expenditure without giving much facilities in return.

For example, in the name of facilities, in a city like Delhi, the capital of India, if it starts raining in the morning on a working day, then half of the staff goes absent citing flooding of streets and unavailability of safe modes of transport thereby reducing the output of a business for the day to 50%. Will the govt take the onus for this loss in revenues due to non availability of facilities that it was duty bound to provide like an efficient drainage to avoid flooding, an infrastructure and a transport network to let people commute normally even during heavy rains.

How fair it is all ?

And similarly there are a plethora of reasons why many people want to avoid paying taxes. 

We save taxes for our necessities, family, for our old age, for our safety, security and sustenance and this phenomenon is the sign of failure of Government in the past 70 yrs, in discharging it’s own functions effectively and efficiently. Government to quite an extent is responsible for this as many govt officials continue to blackmail the public through their red tapism and there is literally no let up in the asking of bribes.

But in the same breath, none should doubt our nationalism and patriotism…

We challenge that if Govt announces that Rs.1000 crore is required for Indian Army or for floods or earthquake victims !!! The same amount will be deposited within couple of days by these very “Tax Savers” only. We are eager to come forward with open hearts to help our government in times of need. 

Jai Hind”

In the closing lines, the writer of the open letter, appeals to the readers that if they agree then we all should bring it to the notice of the govt.

This should not be construed as a protest. It should neither be taken as a fault finding with the government. Infact its we the people who form this government so whom are we pointing fingers. Its just that being lucky to have Mr Modi at the helm, its a hope against hope that if he happens to see or goes through this write up, then maybe some remedial actions will be taken to ease the concerns of the masses, that will go a long way in changing this perception about the government and governance. Though this could be a long drawn process but then the beginning needs to be made, sooner than later.