Archive for June, 2014

Suggestions for Indian Govt. led by Shri Modi

June 10, 2014

Some suggestions for Shri Modi Govt. 

L V Nagarajan

Following are the suggestions from a law abiding tax payer and citizen of India for effecting a visible change in governance as promised by Shri Modi. These suggestions have already been conveyed to BJP Communication Cell. Any suggestions, which are agreeable and can be implemented by an executive order, should straightaway be implemented instead of the usual procedure of forming reform committee etcetera. Such usual procedures will only lead to delay and eventual loss of focus.

1.0 Electoral Reforms:

All Chief Election Commissioners for the last 20 years or more have complained that political parties lack the will to implement the electoral reforms already accepted by all concerned. Even such a small change like introducing NOTA option required a Supreme Court order to get implemented. While all the recommendations of electoral reforms may be reviewed in the present context, at least a few of them should be straightaway implemented without endlessly waiting for such a review. I have suggested a few of them below:

a)      The multiplicity of candidates is somewhat making our democracy meaningless. We have to find ways to avoid (or at least reduce) the same. Following measures may be considered:

–        Increasing the security deposit to about Rs 1 Lac or more

–        Consider loss of security deposit for all candidates who come 4th or below

–        We may give time for final withdrawal of candidates from contest till a few days before election, with an incentive of return of deposit. (With the use of EVMs, the candidates list can be modified even just a few days before the elections)

b)        We may introduce some additional eligibility criteria for the candidates. Education, experience, service record, moral background will all form part of such criteria, as below:

  1. For candidature to Parliament: Graduation or membership of a state legislature for at least 5-years.
  2. For candidature to state legislatures: Graduation or (High School education plus membership of local bodies for at least 5-years) or (membership of local bodies for at least 10-years).
  3. For candidature to local bodies: High school education or previous membership to such bodies for five years.

With the above scheme, even an unschooled common man can become an MP within 15 years, with his service record of electoral office.

2.0 Judicial Reforms

Number of criminal and civil cases pending in all our courts in India exceeds several lacs as per some reports. Out of these, number of cases pending for the last ten years or more exceeds one lac. We all know that justice delayed is just denied. Justice delayed for more than ten years is not only denial of justice, but also a promotion of injustice. With our very low conviction rate and. with our judicial procedures so delayed, people boldly commit illegal activities with the surety of enjoying the benefits of such activity for a long time before law and justice catch up with them. Hence it is very essential to reform of judicial system to ensure prompt conviction and timely justice. I have following suggestions:

a)      All civil cases of more than ten years duration should be referred to special panels of juries constituted in every panchayat of the country. The jury should consist of a district magistrate and several people of the district who command the respect of the local people. The jury should concentrate more on an acceptable compromise than on the disputable legalities. They should try and clear all the case in one hearing without allowing adjournments.

b)      All criminal cases of more than ten years should be referred to special fast-track courts constituted in every district. Special justices should be appointed if needed. These courts should hear all the cases on daily basis without allowing any adjournments except the ones required by the judicial process. They should try and clear the cases within a maximum of 4 hearings.

c)      On completion of the above process, need for special panels of juries and fast track courts may be reviewed and the same reduced or dissolved completely. Any case that exceeds the ten year pendency limit should be referred to such fast track courts in future to ensure timely justice.

3.0 Income Tax reforms 

Personal income tax is said to make a very small contribution to the national exchequer. However for the tax-paying middle class citizens it is a major out-flow from their finances. Moreover filing income tax returns, managing the Tax deduction at source and waiting for refunds are all occasions for great stress for the tax-paying aam-aadmi. Considering the fact that this middle class is the one that otherwise contribute a lot to the national exchequer by way of other indirect taxes like excise duty, service tax, sales tax and other municipal taxes the government should act with grace on their income taxes. Some of the immediate steps to be taken are:

a)      The income tax exemption limit should be raised immediately to Ra 5 Lacs from the current assessment year itself without waiting for the budget. It can be reconciled easily in the budget as and when it is made. It will relieve a large number of people from the periodic stress they undergo. Proportionately, tax saving investment limit under section 80C may be increased to 2 Lacs.

b)      TDS should be totally abolished for bank deposits, especially for senior citizens. Most of the retired people live on their interests from deposits. With inflation overtaking the interest rates, already their quality of life is permanently on the decline. With TDS you really put them to increased stress. Submitting form15G/H and keeping them up-to-date, banks struggling to manage these TDS deductions may all be avoided by this step. The present tax exemption limit of 2.5 lacs does not at all match with TDS for an interest income of Rs 10000 per quarter. Hence TDS should be totally abolished for bank deposits.

c)      Income tax refunds are never taken seriously by the government. Several millions of rupees are held up by the Govt. and this money belongs to law abiding tax-payers. If releasing large amount of refunds poses any financial strain on the govt., I have the following suggestion: Refunds may be paid to the parties by way of cash coupons of several denominations, which can be used by them for any future payment to the government – like registration charges, stamp duty, advance tax and self-assessment taxes etc.

More will follow.