By Manuwant Choudhary
To tax and to please is not given to men but to be rationale is but the Indian government under Narendra Modi has lost its way and its mind - completely.
Tax authorities have become the BJPs political wing in targeting opponents as ordered by their masters, helping break up parties or alliance partners to spread the tentacles of the party in power.
Its not that the Congress Party has not misused these authorities but this government does it with a vengeance like never before.
For the ordinary businessman life is repressive at best.
The other day a Patna businessman told me, "I spend my mornings right upto 2 pm working for the Government of India, filling up endless forms, attending calls from tax authorities. After a quick lunch I begin my real work which is to see how I can pay the salaries to my staff. Its only at 8 pm that I have time to think about profits and future growth of the business,"
"Had it not been for the jobs I help provide I would shut down my business...Inhein (showing his employees) pareshaanee ho jayegee..)"
The businessman was an ardent Nitish Kumar supporter with a photo of the chief minister at his home with his family...he even supported Narendra Modi.
But now the Nitish photo gathers dust.
A Tax-to-do list from the Bihar Chamber of Commerce has some 34 items for income tax.
And under GST some 12 GTR's have to be complied with !
The businessman continued, "Taxes are deducted at source but they lie idle in banks and are not given to the Income Tax for which we get repeated notices. Its become our job to ensure that tax credits are transferred by government departments."
Modi's mad decision to demonitise 86 per cent high value currency hurt businesses and halved their turnover for the past one year.
And now the multiple tax GST is a nightmare.
For businessmen selling a product they have to quote multiple taxes for every single item that goes into mking that product..For example a light post will have four GST !
Jay Panda, the Member of Parliament of Biju Janata Dal in Orissa, happily tells students of Columbia University that he could not find a single person opposing Demonitisation in his constituency.
I think he should be really worried. Very, very worried.
In We The Nation Nani Palhkhivala quotes G.K. Chesterson's essay "The Mad Official" which is about how a society goes mad.
The rot begins, he says, when wild actions are received calmly by society.
"These are people who have lost the power of astonishment at their own actions. When they give birth to fantastic passion or foolish law, they do not start or stare at the monster they have brought forth...These nations are really in danger of going off their heads en masse, of becoming one vast vision of imbecility."