Penalty on Undisclosed Income
Much-desired demonetisation of notes of higher denominations was firstly diluted by improper planning and issue of 2000 rupee notes, and now by three types of tax-penalty combination for undisclosed incomes. Bitter fact is that the decision-takers seem to be utterly confused on handling such a big and important task of demonetisation. It is beyond understanding why names of persons not having availed earlier Income Disclosure Scheme ended on 30.09.2016 are not to be disclosed under provisions of new legislation. People have right to know identity of corrupt ones in politics, bureaucracy and may be even in judiciary having accumulated black money.
Disclosure scheme now being legislated through a money-bill for total 50-percent tax-penalty and four-year freezing period on another 25-percent of undisclosed income if would have been announced on 08.11.2016 with announcement of demonetisation would have avoided turning black money illegally into white at cost. Discretionary powers to tax-officials for imposing ten-percent penalty on 75-percent tax-penalty on finding undisclosed income during scrutiny will open door for corruption now in more handy 2000 rupee notes.
Media-reports indicating rupees 10000 each to be deposited in about 25 crores Jan-Dhan bank-accounts with money available from demonetisation if true will nothing but be a direct political bribe undoing all the good to be achieved through demonetisation, leading to inflation and ruling out all possibilities of interest-rates. Is Modi heading towards some aimless economy based on political aspects?
Subhash Chandra Agrawal, Delhi
On 20 February 2015, Kalyani Mondal, a waste picker was run over by a bulldozer on the top of Dhapa dump site. She died. This was hardly noticed by the dump site authorities. Her family wrote a letter to the Chief Minister appealing for a more caring provision for their work. On 6th April 2015 I had written a letter to the State Planning Board authorities from where the State Labour Department was directed to take appropriate steps in the matter.
However, waste pickers were not included in the list of eligible livelihood types (like domestic help, rickshaw pullers, construction workers etc.) to be considered under the state provident fund scheme. This called for a report, which I wrote and submitted to the labour department. Based upon this report, the decision to include waste pickers in the eligible livelihood list was taken.
The matter was sympathetically dealt with in the concerned departments. Finally on 14th September 2016 the Government of West Bengal released a notification to include waste pickers within the purview of State Assisted Scheme of Provident fund for Unorganised Workers. West Bengal is one of the earliest states to look into the problems of waste pickers whose service to the city as prime movers of solid waste recycling has been all but overlooked.
Dhrubajyoti Ghosh, Kolkata
Vol. 49, No.25, Dec 25 - 31, 2016