WHEN did you recently pay your electricity bill? Check on the bill and you will find a small print of service tax on it. Meaning, if you have Rs 100 as electricity bill, then you have to pay 15 per cent as government electricity duty above that, each state has around 15 to 20 paise electricity sell charges per unit above the bill amount. So, for your actual usage of Rs 100 worth electricity, you pay Rs 150 approx. If you send money order through post office even of Rs 100, you have to pay 5 per cent extra for sending, so you end up paying Rs 105. This is what aam aadmi has to pay in many areas. This aam aadmi is not some alien dropped on our mother earth by a space shuttle from Mars! He/she lives in Bharat, works hard, around 30 per cent of them can’t even eat food twice a day—they get just a label by government as BPL —Below Poverty Line. This BPL aam aadmi is already suffering due to out of reach prices of basic food items. Education, medical treatment, house etc are things not even in his dreams. Then there is middle class aam aadmi—another majority in Bharat. They too work hard in various intellectual and supporting areas of the nation to develop the nation and yet pay 40 per cent of their salary in tax. Of late, even they can’t afford basic food items, best medical treatment, and good education for their children. Housing loan rates are so unsteady that they can’t even think of their own home. And then there are a limited number of people who have loads of money. They do not fall under aam aadmi category. Businessmen, industrialists, film personalities, most politicians, most officers etc come under this category. Some of them do pay taxes. Do not mistake me as a communist who speaks of clichéd “haves and haves-not”; I am simply referring to the immediate needs of the nation vis-à-vis fancy money games. I also do not mean to say that people should not play sports. Coming from the Sangh, I do appreciate the importance of sports that make body and mind healthy.
But there is a vast difference between healthy sports which all of us enjoy—even the BPL and middle class aam aadmi has that entertainment. But when such popular sports are used to play games with each other using money and political power, it becomes the dirty game and the first wicket falls that is of aam aadmi! In spite of he using electricity only of Rs 100, he pays so many taxes on that and those ‘IPLites’ despite using huge national resources for publicity and other activities are exempted from various taxes in the name of an eyewash—oh! This is a popular game among the poor and middle class, they come to watch this game—so tax exemption. Really? Such exploitation of mass interest is not only disgusting but it is blatant cheating of all aam aadmis who pay their sweat and blood money in taxes!
The most disgraceful is that instead of standing against this blatant cheating meted out to aam aadmi, most politicians and media waste nation’s time and electricity in debates on which politician has what stakes in which team and where has that money come from! People of Bharat have elected each MP and MLA to protect aam aadmi’s interests; not winning Parliament or assembly debates. What a minister should do and what a businessman should do and how are the issues to discuss, but is there anybody caring for aam aadmi’s tragic plight? Aam aadmi is dying under tax and price burdens. Corruption and misuse of power are of course important issues—but only after every Indian has enough food to eat and after ensuring that aam aadmi’s pockets are not cut in the name of taxes while millionaires are enjoying various tax exemptions.
This issue is not limited only to IPL. It happens with many high profile events and people. But ignoring or ridiculing something that is so basic does not mean that basic thing does not exist. The most important aspect of it is that Hindus are 82 per cent in Bharat: a majority who pays taxes. From education to jobs and from bank loans to tax exemptions aam Hindu has been facing discriminatory treatment. He works hard, he pays taxes and others enjoy their life on aam Hindu’s taxes. This is shameful and serious. It is a violation of basic human courtesy to aam Hindu. When it is inconvenient to the governments they do not keep columns in the forms to mention religion—like in Income Tax, Sales Tax. Because they know that Hindus in Bharat surely would ask through RTI as to how much tax Hindus pay, how much tax certain minorities pay and how much in return Hindus get and how much in return those minorities (who these days brag that they are the second largest majority in Bharat!) get. It is high time that we all took note of such basic simple but most significant misappropriation of funds by all governments—funds that are paid by all of us as taxes.
How to do so? File an RTI application demanding the classification of taxes paid by Hindus and non-Hindus, benefits given to Hindus and non-Hindus, tax exemptions given to tax-payers and non-tax-payers. One can even include in it the entertainment tax exemption beneficiaries’ info. Just because some sports are popular, should they be exempted from tax? Instead, why can’t government make it compulsory to IPLites to cap the ticket prices? Why should My Name is Khan be tax free, just because it justifies jehadi terrorism and is made by a Khan? More popular are the temples and gurudwaras. Is electricity to them tax exempt? Are they given water free? More popular is dal-roti, sugar. Government has no shame in increasing their prices. But tax exemption to IPL because it is popular! What kind of a shameless logic is this? If we aam Hindus do not raise these issues then there is a danger that these would set precedence and later on such blatant misappropriation of our tax money would become a practice and then law—same as today minority reservation is being forced on to Bharat as law!
Beware of the larger conspiracy and stand up. This is the only thing we must do at this moment rather than helplessly watching TV debates on whose money which politician’s friend used and whose phones which department taped. It is aam Hindu only who can stop this misuse of democratic systems and let’s begin by a simple basic RTI application as to how much tax was paid in past 10 years by Hindus? How much tax was paid in past 10 years by Muslims and Christians? How much worth benefits Hindus got and how much worth benefits Muslims and Chiristians got/are promised? We can even include all entertainment stuff in it asking for usage of national resources like electricity, water, roads by IPL, cinema, media and taxes paid by them.
At any cost, nobody should survive at the cost of aam aadmi. No IPL at the cost of BPL!
(The writer is a renowned cancer surgeon and VHP international secretary general. He can be contacted at [email protected])