Inert Citizens Demoracy: a Fool's Paradise!

Topics: Value added tax, Maharashtra, Nagpur Pages: 6 (2320 words) Published: September 15, 2010
Inert Citizens Democracy: A Fool’s Paradise!

It is the most beautiful truth in morals that we have no such thing
as a distinct or divided interest from our race - In their welfare is ours;
And by choosing the broadest paths to effect their happiness,
We choose the surest and shortest to our own - Bulwer

In this era, we have witnessed the worst recession of this century. The world was reeling under immense pressure with most of the western giant financial institutes falling like a house of cards. India with no exception and felt the blow of it with mainly our western world linked highly sought after globally acclaimed intellectuality gasping and bleeding! Yet, it is now believed that our very cultural upbringing has kept us ashore in these highly turbulent times. Culture, a way of life, has inculcated the habit of ‘saving’ for may be tomorrows hard times and this worked like a savoir for us! Well, habits are habits; and if some worked like a savior then few others have turned us as meek and inert. Our docile nature was a life’s compulsion to live under most undemocratic regimes due to continuous ruthless invasions on our motherland. Through centuries of invasions have breed habit of accepting harbingers of suppression and have turned inertness around our surroundings as a way of accepting life. It is just as if continuous mutations on crossover in genes perpetrates new breeds, all such habits good or bad are as if ‘genetically codoned’ in our life; and as Shakespeare rightly said: “How use doth breed a habit in a man.”

Well, in Nagpur, the local government is taking an advantage of this inertness of its citizens and therefore one after the other had imposed a murderous rise in taxes. Nagpur it is the largest city in central India. With a population of around 2,420,000 it is also the third largest city by population in the state of Maharashtra. The recent survey also tells us that Maharashtra has the highest number of urban poor in India. Historically, the British East India Company took over the city in 19th century and made it the capital of Central Provinces and Berar. After first state reorganization, it lost the capital status but was made the second capital of Maharashtra. The city is the commercial and political center of the state's eastern Vidarbha region. However, interestingly Nagpur will be the only city in the globe whose inhabitants will have to pay over the last year, say upto 27 times more for water consumption, double and more for property tax, about 30% more on power consumption, new additional shop license fee upto Rs1000 per annum, and retrogressive octroi collection system makes everything more expensive. Globally, Octroi is an oldest form of local levies, a local tax collected on various articles brought into a city/ district for consumption. Octroi taxes have a respectable antiquity, in 12th and 13th century being known in Roman times as vectigalia (a tax on the entry from or departure to the provinces). From an early time the octroi was farmed out to associations or private individuals, and so great were the abuses which arose from the system that the octroi was abolished during the French Revolution. However, after resurfacing, the octroi was finally abolished in 1948 in France, in 1860 in Belgium, and in 1903 from Egypt. Currently, as of 2010, octroi is levied only in Ethopia and in 22 cities of Maharashtra state in India. The reason why the world has done away with Octroi is its very nature of discrimination. Much before the time of free India till date, many committees had been entrusted the task of determining the validity of octroi, and all committees with no exception have asked Govt. to abolish it immediately. In 1925, the committee to study octroi recommended its abolition. In 1959, the M.R.Masani committee on Road Transport Reorganization considered on the levy of Octroi “a national waste” and suggested its immediate abolition. The Planning commission in 1966...
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