Looters being empowered?

There are only two kinds of really rich Indians. Wealth creators and looters. The Prime Minister declared his respect for wealth creators in his Independence Day speech this year, acknowledging their vital contribution to his dream of making India a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2024. Sadly, he seems not to have noticed how important it is to control the looters if the wealth creators are to create wealth. In the looters category, as the more perceptive of you may have already gathered, I include politicians and officials. Looters by nature are incapable of creating wealth and get rich by looting those who can. On Modi’s watch, tax inspectors have been given the power to arrest those they accuse of hiding loot and they have become more vicious in this pursuit than ever before because the Prime Minister’s crusade on black money has emboldened them.
Last week, a friend who is as honest a wealth creator as I know called to tell me sadly that he is on the verge of closing down his very successful business because he can no longer face the daily menace of predatory tax inspectors. “They are threatening to charge me a penalty that will amount to a 100 per cent of my profits,” he said, “because my books show that I have sometimes made a sale of more than Rs 2 lakh in cash in a day. When people pay cash, and there are many who prefer to, I put the money in my bank account and pay taxes and GST, but this is not enough. These tax guys tell me that if I had spread the amount over four days it would have been alright, but since I have been honest enough not to, they want to charge me this penalty. This is insane.”

Yes it is. And, it is a direct consequence of the Prime Minister’s relentless quest for ‘black money’. It is true that tax evasion is widespread in our dear Bharat Mata, but there are reasons for this. The vast majority of Indians who evade paying taxes do it because the process of paying is so complicated. I do not pay GST in my line of work but those who do tell me that it is a Kafkaesque nightmare of rules and paperwork. Millions of small businesses have closed down because GST has driven them out of business. There has long been talk of ‘rationalization’ of this many-layered tax but this has not happened yet.

Very rich Indians, of the honest kind, evade taxes because they often have to keep money aside to pay politicians at election time. Mr Modi knows well that despite his determination to end corrupt practices, the money that fuels the BJP’s formidable election machine is as black as it comes. To get hold of this at election time, political parties deploy their most efficient looters. When the economy is booming and ‘animal spirits’ abound collecting for the party is usually easy. When times are hard as they are now the looters charged with finding this money do not hesitate to intimidate and threaten those who cannot pay. The irony is that if wealth creators were to use the same methods to collect their dues from government, they would land up in jail.

Speaking of jail, has the Prime Minister noticed that many dishonest wealth creators give up their businesses to enter politics because they know it is much easier to make money out of ‘public service’? Once they enter Parliament or some state legislature, they live like billionaires. They travel first class, go on wondrous holidays in foreign lands, send their children to fine foreign universities, buy their wives designer clothes and jewels and nobody asks any questions. If they spend Rs 2 lakh a day, no tax inspector asks them any questions because looters are cocooned by the mighty shield of political power. This is especially true if they attain high office and live in splendour behind the high walls of a bungalow in hated Lutyens Delhi.

Last week, while campaigning in Maharashtra, Mr Modi announced proudly that he had lived up to his promise of putting many looters in Tihar Jail. Decades of socialism created many, many looters who should be in jail, as should be wealth creators who loot banks on the pretense of doing business. The directors of the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank deserve to spend the rest of their lives rotting in a prison cell, as does Nirav Modi. But, if an honest man is forced into bankruptcy because he accepted cash from a customer that exceeded the ludicrous limits imposed by a bad regulation, then there is something very wrong with what is happening. Wealth creators must never be forced to live at the mercy of looters. This is something that happens only in bad countries.

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/maharashtra-haryana-elections-business-economy-narendra-modi-6078058/ more  

View all 14 comments Below 14 comments
Right time to seize entire properties of Politicians and Babus. It is only public money. Unless we start picking up these two goons an dsending them to Tihar, Nothing will change. Politicians and Babus are teh worst enemies of India. They are far worse than Pakistan or IS. We have to fight these two vandals and finish them, if at all India has to progress. Babus need to be finished first. They are poisonous snacks and biting every one, They deserve open hanging or stonong. No mercy can be shown to these vandals and vultures. Unless Indians start finishing Babus, nothing will change. more  
One Mr. GC Mathur does not appear to know what he is talking about. Maybe he in ONE of the LOOTERS, which he is mentioning? more  
Of course, a lot of what is stated here by many people is absolutely non-sense.... including by Ruchika Mashwari as well as G.C. Mathur. It is such people like Mathur, who are ruining our country. more  
Mr. Law, it is the people like you who are supporting the looters. The looters in the politics have definitely looted the nation. You have not recorded the figures that have gone out of the treasury, out of the funds - consumers' personal money. I stand what I have said. more  
To prevent corruption,1)Govt has to change laws and not to give more opportunities to corrupt personnel.2)Punishment has to be severe and timely.3)Judiciary has to be strengthened. more  
It is deception and dishonesty on part of Ms. Ruchika Maheshwari not to disclose upfront that this piece is an Opinion expressed by Ms. Tavleen Singh for Indian Express. Even though the link to Indian Express Opinion is given at the end of the long article, most of the commenters above think that this long missive has indeed been penned by Ms. Maheshwari herself. And if the disclosure had been provided upfront, given the personal predilections of Ms. Tavleen Singh, the objectivity or otherwise of the opinion could have been well-known to above commenters. I have nothing to say about the content of the opinion piece because others like M/s. Sukumaran Nair, Ramachandran M Nair, and Padam Law have amply elaborated on the bias of Ms. Tavleen Singh. more  
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