Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Philosophy of education

The matters in our burgeoning private universities would even make the angels weep. God save education and the country!

“Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.”
                                                                                     -Robert Frost

 

There is a craze for Western type of English medium education. Firstly, those students become cocooned in a shell far removed from the millions of their peers who cannot afford such education! They develop a holier than thou attitude towards the other sections of society. They truly believe that those who did not go to such elite schools are lesser mortals who are incapable of joining their elite club. Such individuals demean others who have not been to such institutions little realising that some of the great thinkers of this country had no idea about those institutions. 
 

In fact, those who came up the hard way in life are best suited to rule this country as they have experienced poverty personally to know where it pinches and how to alleviate poverty.
 

A study in the US showed how the Ivy League institutes are churning out mediocre students at the tax payers’ cost. In an article entitled “Close Harvard to save America", an economics professor in Ohio has shown how these elite institutions are being favoured by the tax authorities. Giving an example the professor shows how five of those institutions in the last one year collected $one billion in endowment funds on which they do not pay income tax. Neither do they pay income tax on their huge endowment fund fixed deposit interests while the ordinary citizen pays nearly 25% of his income in taxes from which the government has to fund hundreds of state colleges which educate almost 75% of the country's students.  The latter also give scholarships to the poorest of the poor to the tune of 75 %.
 

The following paragraph from the same economics professor at Ohio University tells it all: “A student graduating from Yale or Princeton, with their roughly $2 million endowments per student, has a ticket to a well-paying job, while one graduating from the College of St. Joseph in Vermont, with its $29,000 endowment per student, does not. Only 12 percent of the Yale and Princeton students have Pells, compared with 71 percent at St. Joseph. (Pells refer to US Federal govt.) Pell Grant is a post-secondary educational Federal grant sponsored by the U.S Department of Education-enacted to help undergraduates of low-income families in receiving financial aid." The difference between elite and non-elite/commoner colleges in the USA seems to be stark.”
 

Perhaps if somebody does (or has done) a similar comparison in India the difference between elite and non-elite college education would be similar. The people who give large endowments do not do it for nothing. They have an eye on seats for their progeny and friends in the long run. This breeds mediocrity. That is what is happening these days.
 

The other big blow for good teaching is the undue importance given to research in western universities. There are these ace professors who live on grant collection, paper production on a mass scale and lecturing and conference attending. They rarely have time to spend with students to teach. Teaching has taken a back seat. Even to get tenure positions in Ivy League institutes it is the research CV that matters. No university gives importance to cultivate a good teacher who has a flare for teaching and making students feel comfortable. The other side of the coin is that standards of research have come down so much that a recent study showed that more than 95% of research done in these universities does not take knowledge forward and in many cases is not even worth the paper on which it is written. Professors have little time left to guide their doctoral students properly and PhD thesis standards are falling.
 

There are exceptions to what this Ohio professor was saying. Exceptions only prove the rule. One alumnus from Berkeley has this to say. “There are good teachers like Walter Levin at MIT, Richard Karp at Berkeley, etc., who are not only top researchers but also top undergraduate teachers. They teach beginners, unlike in India where senior teachers teach only senior students. Their lectures are highly inspirational and change many a student's career. And these teachers are not exceptions; people who are predominantly driven by research go to industry research, which is a lot more comfortable life than tenure-track positions. Only those that are passionate about teaching join academia and are willing to go through the pains of getting tenure. At Berkeley for example, I sat in undergrad 101 classes (although I was a PhD student) of some great teachers, simply to get inspired, or to look at the subject matter from a different angle. The top universities in US have "best teacher" awards, to encourage and motivate teaching, and such awards are a real honour, "much more than a Nobel prize", as they say in Berkeley.
 

Adam Smith had noted similar trends in Oxford of his days! With tenure posts of professors and the latter receiving their salaries from the tax payers’ money, teaching standards had fallen there even at that time. Adam Smith had shown how job security removed the need to work hard to please the students’ curiosity. In the past the professors had to get their salary from students when the latter were satisfied.  If you compare this with the present western fad for big salaries in tenure posts and job security there is no incentive for good teaching at all. To keep up the facade that these great institutions get only excellent students they practice grade enhancement methods. So no student who gets into Harvard gets anything other than “A” grade! Even the grades have become very liberal. In the 1950, the average GPA was 2.5. Today it is in the range of 3.5-3.9 out of 4! It is not that western students have become super intelligent in forty odd years. It is a proof that grade meddling is accepted in those institutions.
 

Now we come down to our institutions. If that were the scenario in the West one can only shudder to think of the goings on in our institutions including the large private institutions where all these and more should be going on. The same applies to Indian elite institutions. The matters in our burgeoning private universities would even make the angels weep. God save education and the country!
 

(Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Science of Healing Outcomes, chairman of the State Health Society's Expert Committee, Govt of Bihar, Patna. He is former Vice Chancellor of Manipal University at Mangalore and former professor for Cardiology of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London.)

User

I-T notices harass seniors who do not even have taxable income

The income tax department is on an overdrive and its notices of potential tax evasion are harassing retired people, senior citizens, homemakers and widows. Worse, the I-T department has even sent notices in time-barred cases that are over a decade old and to people without a taxable income
 

On the day, the Union Finance Minister presented Vote on Account for 2014-15 in the Parliament, the Income Tax (I-T) Department went on an overdrive.  It issued a press releases saying - “Letters to be sent to 23 lakh assesses for not filing returns”. Around then a news report said, “40.72 lakh high spenders under tax lens”. It now turns out that the I-T department has sent out notices to lakhs of people who include women homemakers, widows, pensioner or senior citizens. The department thinks these people are tax evaders when most of them do not even have any taxable income or have an income that is well below the permitted no-tax slab. 

 

Let me discuss two cases that I have personally looked at. Both are housewives and have received similar notices – one is a senior citizen, who had been filing regular tax returns as long as she had taxable income. She ceased to do so after her income went down below the taxable limit. Another had income only from an investment in debentures. Both cases were apparently picked up from the Annual Information Reports (AIR). While the process is fine, the tax department could have avoided creating a needless scare only applying its mind to the tax status of the two women, based on their permanent account number (PAN). Instead it shot off evasion notices, forcing them to seek professional help to file appropriate replies.

 

I myself have been served notices, not once but thrice, even though I have retired few years ago. Worse, the notices pertain to 1994-95, a period for which the law does not even require me to maintain documents. As a chartered accountant, I am among the few people who does not discard old documents, so I was able to pull out information and responded to the notices adequately. But that hasn't stopped the department from sending me more.
 

Assessment Year

Demand

Status

1994-95

Rs477

Assessment duly completed and refund order for Rs1,080 received

2000-01

Rs48,076

Revised return filed for tax payable of only Rs78

2001-02

Rs10,276

Assessment completed on 31/03/2004 refund order for Rs3,051

2010-11

-

Order of 18/10/2010 wrongly adjusts 1994 refund Rs477 and Rs633 for 2000

 








 

 

To add insult to injury the tax deducted at source (TDS) refund of Rs10,000 due to me for AY 2012-13 is held up only because of their not resolving the issues mentioned above. This was brought to the attention of the Jurisdictional Assessing Officer 11(3)1 at Mumbai and the CPC at Bengaluru by submitting copies of assessment and refund orders on 24 October 2013 and on 3 May 2013 and by updating the Compliance – I-T e-filing on the CPC site on 21 March 2014.

 

The AIRs are meant to help the tax department catch evasion, it is not a tool of harassment through reckless application or to frighten senior citizens. The Offices of Jurisdictional Income Tax at various locations in the country, which assess those who have filed returns, as well as the assesses, are at a loss for explanation of how this happened. The Centralised Processing Centre (CPC) at Bengaluru, conveniently choose not to respond to the taxpayers’ clarificatory letters and has continued to issue follow-up notices.

 

Based on the information picked up from the annual information return (AIR), the I-T Intelligence and Criminal Investigation Directorate, based at Delhi, has been routinely shooting out stereotyped computer-generated notices. These notices are being sent to a cross section of citizens for perceived ‘potential evasion of taxes’ in earlier years and also calling upon them to inform the I-T Department, whether they have filed tax returns. 

 

According to the news report, based the AIR, they claim to “have located potential ‘tax evasions’ (?) of 40.73 lakh persons who have made cash deposits of Rs10 lakh and more, 40.40 lakh purchased mutual fund (MF) units of Rs2 lakh or more, bonds and debentures of Rs5 lakh or more, purchase of company shares worth Rs1 lakh or more, RBI bonds of Rs5 lakh and above, 15.55 lakh purchased or sold immovable property worth Rs30 lakh or more, 20.61 lakh made credit card payments exceeding Rs2 lakh and had interest income of more than Rs50,000 from banks and purchased bullion or jewellery worth Rs5 lakhs or more”.

 

The I-T department coolly boasts, “We have identified 23 lakh people, who have invested money, but have not filed returns. We will be sending out letters, asking those details of their tax returns. We have already issued letters in 2.45 lakh cases.” A simple check would show the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) that there are overlaps in the numbers of perceived ‘evaders’ mentioned above. 

 

A media report says “The Finance Ministry is also developing a module on the e-filing portal that will provide individual taxpayers’ details of returns not filed, ITR-V not submitted, demands not paid as steps towards greater transparency”.  In my opinion, this comment comes rather late. Even today, PAN data is a part of know your customer (KYC) requirement and is embedded in practically every transaction passing through the bank accounts. It also appears in all applications for shares, MF units, bonds, debentures, credit card payments to banks, as also purchase and sale documents for immovable property.

 

All that is required to resolve this concern is to the track a sample of a few high value transactions by matching the respective names and PAN with the Jurisdictional Officer and/or the CPC to ascertain the veracity of the transaction. Only after due confirmation, should the I-T Department send out notices to people. These notices not only cause needless panic, but also increase the work load at the tax department.  

 

To elicit the desired information from the presumed “non–return fillers” they could be required to furnish a simple listing/ declaration of the amounts/ sources during a year of incomes from:

        Interests from all bank deposits savings, FD, RD, Swipe etc. with account numbers

        Income from Dividends

        Income from units of Mutual Funds

        Capital gains on sale of shares or redemption of MF instruments

        Income from House Property

        Income from other sources

        Less: All permissible deductions and exemptions

        Total income during the year

 

If the income is ultimately found to be not taxable the matter needs to be closed.

 

(Nagesh Kini is a Mumbai based chartered accountant turned activist.)

User

COMMENTS

Binsy

1 year ago

My mother who is houswife receives regular monthly cash of Rs 50000 to take care of household expenses .whatever savings she deposits the money in her SB account. Suddenly she receives notice from IT that AIR shows huge cash deposits for the last 6 asst years and AO has taxed the entire credits . Please suggest with relevant case law.

Ganesh Kamat

3 years ago

Simple Laws-Solves most Problems,
________________________________

(A)....After the Budget...

Most members of the House say,

that the Budget is…

Either, Pro-Poor or Anti-Poor….

Though these members would not even knows,

their own Liabilities,

Due to the Complex Laws,

Rules & Regulations in the Budget.

They make Complicated Laws &

unreasonable Procedure, to accommodate whom?

So our Democracy is no doubt,

BY:- the people, but

OF:- the Leaders? &

For:- the Administrators?

Simple Laws-Solves Problems,

OF:- the people,

FOR:- Growth-Prosperity to all.

Are you for Simple Laws?

____________________________________

(B)....Rail Reform...

Why, Passenger Train is important ?

1) British gave us Mail/ Express and Passenger Trains.

2) We added Super Fast Trains in place of Passenger Train.

3) Passenger train are helpful for rural area farmers to
sell their farm product to Taluka/ District places, without
middleman hence creating Employment & better value to our farmers.

4) Now a day they are talking about bullet train !
they call this as their vision?

5)Today we are in need of MORE passenger Train First
Which cost hardly anything, for our farmer.

Unfortunately No M.P. Raise this Question In our Parliaments.


________________________________________________________________

(C)....TAX Reform Agenda ....

People are fed up with so called Development Agenda,

So Simple Agenda is:- 1% Tax on Gross Receipt, All other Tax abolition.

All are talking about Problems i.e.-Corruption, Inflation, Red-Tape,
Black Money, Unemployment etc.


Only new Laws may NOT be the solution.

We need Tax Reform, Administrative reform, Bank Reform..
with solution NOT words, but by action.

If we go to Public with such Reform solution..

1)How they get their work done with simplicity,
is the issue today for the people.

2)Tax Reform....1%+1% =2% Tax on gross receipt from other's.
1%..Tax + (1%>>to their own Account) as Less Privilege Fund.(L.P.F.)

3)This 1% L.P.F. will give power to the people as Less Privileged Fund
is their own Money.

4)Tax Number is your mobile number.
Bank Account Number is your mobile number.

5)Tax payment will be as easy, as payment of post paid mobile charges.

6)Salaried people will be happy as they have to pay less.

7)Government will get more Tax collection at least Two times,
as money transaction/ circulation is always at least 20 times or more.
No Black money problem.

8)All other Tax will be abolished, so all others are happy, can increase their
income & Concentrate more on the Business/ Work/ Services
& thus generate more employment.

9)In Administration Reform create simple procedure for various permits/ license.


10)Cash transaction is way of life in India, yet if system is simple,
Tax % Minimum All will pay Tax.

"Apple a day keeps Doctor away"... if apple costs Rs.10/-Each.
but if apple costs Rs.100/-Each???

Our development cost so high, so all our Netas, are all for, development.

Development is like cube of ice, Actual user may get, only cold palm.

So More Government means more development of Netas & Babus.
Less Government means more development of common man.

Let's NOT create any more problems and then try to solve it.
and to have Simple pay Tax & Proceed policy.

Let's Not stay like chor, by avoiding Tax, but by paying simplified minimum Tax.
So our new born baby's hand will not be with Tattoo-"Mera Baap Chor Hai".

Any Party want to work with such Agenda?

Awaiting Feedback..

[email protected]

Ganesh Kamat 9820867755
B.E.(civil), M.S.(U.S.A.)

BMC: Structural Audit Engineer -42 yrs. Exp.
Pioneers Low Cost, Green, Speedy RCB Housing.

http://www.AffordableConstruction.in

http://www.GanakaMotel.com

Ashok m Rane

3 years ago

It is painful to know that Senior Citizens are harassed like this by IT Dept.
If they utilise this time to search the resources of Politicians, Big Professionals, they will help our nation in true spirit.If they are loyal to their duties they should try it.
Ashok M Rane

Gopalakrishnan T V

3 years ago

The IT officials do not seem to have fertile imagination and chase fellows who make hell of a money in the economy.With the boom of the economy after itsliberalisation the Construction industries have expanded and the number of flats and houses built have increased leaps and bounds increasing employment and business opportunities left and right particularly in cities making the labour costly and rarely available. This boom has generated a lot of small businessmen doing Carpentry, furnishing and providing varieties of small services and charging the service takers in lakhs and lakhs. For instance just for carpentry work to cover a balcony and a two bed room kitchen ward robes, they charge anything betweenRs 15lakhs and Rs 20 lakhs and most of the service providers do not take take cheque or any other mode of payment other than cash. It is doubtful whether these persons have heard of sales and Income tax.There are thousands of such businessmen and like this there are several big fish as well avoiding and evading taxes.Leaving them the IT dept is after the retired pensioners and harassing them for a pittance if any at all is something strange and not comprehensible.The evasion of tax is plugged the fiscal defit can be wiped out and there can be suufficient surpluses to reduce the rate of Income tax and better compliance.

Ashok Gokhale

3 years ago

The Central Processing Centre (CPC)Bangalore is a fraud perpetrated on the long suffering honest income tax payer by a Finance Ministry & Income Tax Department that need to do their homework on how to operate an efficient, transparent & accountable tax collection system.

I am an 83 year old former Government official who has been regularly paying taxes for close to 60 years. The above comment is based on my most recent experience with running from pillar to post for more than an year to get a refund of Rs 17,000 or so on my Return for AY 2012-13 in which the entry for an advance tax of Rs 48,300 paid by me in March 2012 was botched by a State Bank of India clerk who entered the wrong PAN number.

Consequently,even after the error was rectified, CPC kept sending me in a mindless, mechanical manner a demand for arrears of tax starting with Rs 34000 & ending up with a demand for Rs 82000! Letters by Speed Post elicited neither acknowledgement nor reply & telephone calls to the designated numbers, which were usually inaccessible, got parrot like replies that offered no clarification. Fortunately,I was able to get my refund a few days ago through the good offices of my Ward Income Tax Officer.

The Ministry of Finance, Govt of India & the Income Tax Department need to realize that computerization by itself without an efficient, accountable & income tax payer- friendly back up is a recipe for complications & harassment instead of simplification & speedy tax collection.
A.B.Gokhale

REPLY

PRABHAT

In Reply to Ashok Gokhale 3 years ago

IN CASE OF MISMATCH , TAX PAYER MUST BE ASKED TO APPROACH A PARTICULAR AUTHORITY WITH ORIGINALS TO COMPLETE THE ASSESSMENT ?

Hemlata Mohan

3 years ago

How else do you think the IT dept can be kept busy? When the mismatch of Pan card happens at the bank level, instead of penalizing the bank, the customer has to run from pillar to post- And the big cases are never harassed- for both sides "take care" of each other. Hope this ends with a new FM and a new Govt

RAMESH ASWATH

3 years ago

very true..came across a situation where the primary investor (first name) has been filing tax returns promptly. He has added his parent (aged over 80 yrs) as a joint holder for his investments. Tax dept sends notice to that senior citizen saying you have done so much investment and not filing tax return!! Can't they figure out on their own that the joint holder is not the primary tax assesse?

ramesh

ajit

3 years ago

ACTUALLY SENIOR CITIZENS SPECIALLY RETIRED SERVICEMAN MUST GET THERE LIMIT UP as they have more to look after all family member so as they should take care of them

Pradeep R Hattangadi

3 years ago

Agree with you sir. Now they have gone one step ahead when you write to CPC they send you a letter saying that your file has been transferred to the Jurisdictional officer and ask you to go the E- Filing site to find your Jurisdictional officer for further action on the matter. When you go to the Jurisdictional Officer they say they do not have any records. So you end up running from pillar to post

REPLY

PRABHAT

In Reply to Pradeep R Hattangadi 3 years ago

THAT IS WHAT I MEAN . NO CONVENIENCE TO TAX PAYERS , ONLY HARRESMENT .

MOHAN

3 years ago


CBI arrests two I-T officers in Thrissur on bribe charges

http://www.business-standard.com/article...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5nzQNdAk...

REPLY

MOHAN

In Reply to MOHAN 3 years ago

Mediaone channel is ignorant. they are showing commercial tax office for income tax office!! Hope Jamaat-e - islami "Amir' knows the difference!!

PRABHAT

3 years ago

UNLESS I TAX OFFICER HERRACE THE PUBLIC AT LARGE , HOW THEY CAN EARN MONEY . EVEN ON TDS MISMATCH, PASSING ASSESSMENT ORDER WITH PENALTY AND INTREST , WITHOUT ASKING FOR ORIGINAL TDS CERTIFICATE .GOVT. IS ALSO HAPPY WITH THIS ATTITUDE , AS GETTING REVENUE .

Abhijit Gosavi

3 years ago

No social security for folks in their golden years, but instead harassment from a non-performing government!

Vaidya Dattatraya Vasudeo

3 years ago

If IT people have serious interest in doing the work they are paid for, they should FIRST go after every elected candidate, at whatever level. They just do a comparative study of the returns filed by elected candidate for last 10 years. Nation will make a lot of money. And all of them will remain fully busy till their retirement.

mj jagadheesan

3 years ago

what happened to pune based horse merchant it case??????

Veeresh Malik

3 years ago

In many ways, this is the Revenge of the System against the rising of the middle classes, aimed at not just keeping them busy but also at keeping them quiet. Large defaulters across the board are kept free from such harassment while those who dared to try and aspire to a future are being reminded of their place in the system.

Hopefully, as sense prevails, more of us will demand of the elected representatives resolution of issues like this rather than other matters which do not impact ground level realities and truths.

I am reliably told that even 10-20 year old EPFO and ESI records are now being pulled out and flaws applied!

Bank unions oppose licenses to corporate houses; write to CEC

India's largest banking union, AIBEA, has lodged an official protest with the EC about the RBI’s hurry to grant new banking licenses when the country is moving towards general elections to elect a new Parliament. The union says, you cannot overlook political views while granting new licenses

All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) has asked the Election Commission (EC) not to give any permission to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to go ahead with the issue of new banking licenses, especially to corporate houses.

 

"Handing over banking licenses to corporate and business houses is a clear retrograde move. Particularly, when the country is moving towards general elections to elect a new Parliament, RBI's hurry in this regard overlooking the political views of the Parliament would be unfair," CH Venkatachalam, general  secretary of AIBEA said in a letter sent to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) VS Sampath.

 

According to AIBEA, it is our bitter experience borne out by facts that a very large part of the bad loans of banks today are due to the private corporate sector and many business houses who are wilful defaulters. It said, "Prior to nationalization of the banks in 1969, most of the banks in India were owned by one or the other industrial or business house.  Their mismanagement and abuse of people's money resulted in nationalisation of banks."

 

Earlier in December, the bank union had pointed out that the top four bad loan accounts add up to a massive Rs22,666 crore, which include Kingfisher Airlines and Winsome Diamond and Jewellery Co.

 

"Over the past seven years, there are fresh bad loans worth Rs4.95 lakh crore only in public sector banks (PSBs), while during the same period, these lenders wrote off bad debts worth Rs1.4 lakh crore. Gross non-performing assets (NPAs) and bad loans in the PSBs have increased to Rs1.64 lakh crore as on 31 March 2013 from Rs39,000 crore as on 31 March 2008," AIBEA had said.

 

A report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance has also said, "Banking being a highly leveraged business involving public money and public welfare, the Committee are of the considered opinion that it will be more in the fitness of things to keep banking and industry separate. The Committee therefore desire the government and RBI to review the licensing guidelines accordingly."

 

According to a report from Times of India, the EC has asked RBI to explain why the final announcement of the new bank licences had to wait until after the announcement of polls, when the process had been on for so long. The Commission also sought to understand the urgency behind announcing the new licences in the middle of the poll season.

 

"What difference will it make if the new licences are announced six weeks beyond the proposed March-end announcement, as the polls would be over by then?" an official from the EC, who did not wish to be identified, told the newspaper.

 

Earlier this month, finance minister P Chidambaram had said the code of conduct would not be a deterrent for issuing the new bank licences as RBI was spearheading a process, which started a year ago.

 

To recapitulate, in 1969, fourteen large banks in the country were nationalised followed by six more in 1980. Subsequently, RBI gave licences to 12 private banks, in two phases, including conversion of a cooperative bank into a commercial bank. In the second phase, licences were issued to Yes Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank way back in 2004. So, it is exactly a decade now, the RBI will be embarking on issuing additional licences in the banking sector, as the volume has grown to an estimated Rs80 lakh crore, and is still growing!

 

The initial press report indicates that the Bimal Jalan Panel has submitted its findings and it has made its recommendations to the RBI. No names have been given as the selection and announcement will be made by the RBI in due course.

 

It appears that there are a few serious contenders from government-owned organizations, such as IDFC, IFCI, LIC Housing Finance, Power Finance Corporation, Rural Electrification and India Post. In the corporate field, there are a few applicants Reliance Capital, Aditya Birla Nuvo, Shriram Capital, Bajaj Finserv and L&T Finance.

 

You may also want to read…
 

AIBEA blows the whistle on bad loans of Indian banks

 

Bank employees to observe 5th Dec as 'All India Day' against bad loans
 

New bank licence: Who will be in RBI’s interim list?

 

Aspirants to banking licences hardly inspire confidence

 

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