Nation
Tussle between Kejriwal and Jung escalates

Earlier, Majumdar, who issued the order posting Shakuntala Gamlin as acting chief secretary, was barred from entering his office at the Delhi Secretariat

 

The tussle between the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government and Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung escalated on Monday when bureaucrat Rajendra Kumar was made principal secretary (services), replacing Anindo Majumdar.
 
Earlier, Majumdar, who issued the order posting Shakuntala Gamlin as acting chief secretary, was barred from entering his office at the Delhi Secretariat.
 
"Kumar has been given charge of the Principal Secretary (Services) of the government of Delhi," said an official of the Delhi government.
 
Reacting to this move of the Delhi government Lt. Governor Jung wrote to the chief minister. 
 
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that he had received the letter.
 
"Letter received from Hon. LG at 14.35," Sisodia tweeted.
 
However, the contents of the letter have not been revealed.
 
The tussle had erupted on May 15 over the appointment of Gamlin as the chief secretary in-charge, who the chief minister accused of lobbying for power distribution companies.

User

COMMENTS

Umesh kaushik

2 years ago

Ruling by proxy.

Aruna Shanbaug: The fighter-survivor helped over 42 years by KEM staff
Destiny cannot be changed but if peers and employers demonstrated such collective compassion and empathy, a victim's right to life would not need to be invoked in Courts
 
Aruna Shanbaug breathed her last in KEM Hospital after 42 years of being in a vegetative state.  On 27 November 1973, she was brutally assaulted and dragged with a dog chain around her neck that led to brain stem contusion and a cervical chord injury. Like every victim desires, she demonstrated her will to live, which was supported by utmost care and support of her employer and peers, making this story of survival exemplary of compassion and commitment. 
 
In 2011, the Supreme Court held that Aruna Shanbaug is not brain dead and the only legitimate surrogate to decide the question of her treatment was the dean and staff of KEM hospital. 
 
We read reports of how India has become a nation of onlookers. The media stories will focus on the heinousness of the crime and the debate on euthanasia. But what failed to receive recognition and acknowledgement is the role of her employer to allow her the right to life. 
 
The contents of the affidavit filed by the Dean of KEM, Dr. Sanjay Oak in the Supreme Court to oppose the petition for euthanasia are soul stirring and heart wrenching. 
 
Dr. Sanjay Oak stated… 
 
“Aruna has been our staff nurse and the unfortunate tragic incident happened with her in KEM hospital.  She has been in a state that is similar to cerebral palsy in the new-born child. In a layman’s words – Aruna lives in her own world. The doctors, nursing and para medical staff is extremely attached to her as ‘one of us’. She is on liquid diet and loves to listen to music. She has never been subject to intravenous food or fed via a tube. It is not a case for coma. I must put on record that in the world history of medicine there would not be a single case where such a person is cared and nurtured in bed for 33 years and has not developed a single bed sore. This speaks volume of the excellence of nursing care that KEM has given to her...This is not as part of duty but as part of feeling of oneness. In my opinion, this is one of the finest example of love, professionalism, dedication and commitment to one’s professional colleague, who is ailing and cannot support herself. Not once in these 33 years, has anybody thought of ending her vegetative existence. 
 
Right from the illustrious Dr CK Deshpande, Dr RJ Shirahatti, Dr Smt NA Kshirsagar, Dr ME Yeolekar, and now myself, all of us have visited her room time and again and have cared for her and seen her through ups and downs. The very idea of withholding food or putting her to sleep by active medication is extremely difficult for anybody working in Seth GSMC and KEM hospital to accept. I sincerely make a plea to the learned counsel and Hon’ble Court that this should not be allowed. The doctors, nurses, and KEM staff are determined to take care of her till her last breath by natural process. 
 

When those looking after her do not have a problem, I do not understand why a third party, who has nothing to do with her care, needs to worry.  As a clinical surgeon for last three decades and as an administrator of the hospital for last seven years and as a student of legal system of India (as I hold a Bachelor of Law’ degree from Mumbai University), I feel that the entire society has not matured enough to accept the execution of an Act of euthanasia or mercy killing. To me, any mature society is best judged by its capacity and commitment to take care of its ‘invalid’ ones, who are children of lesser God.
 
Aruna has crossed 60 years of life and would one day meet her natural death.” 
 
Aruna was allowed her natural death, just as destiny may have it. She was in her early 60s, deserted by most of her relatives during her lifetime but was looked after with dedication by nurses of Asia's largest public healthcare facility, the BMC-run KEM Hospital where she lay in Ward No. 4A.
 
What have been seen to triumph are the spirit of humanity and an unprecedented duty of care of an employer and professional peers. This did not go unnoticed by the Supreme Court, which held that the whole country must learn the meaning of dedication and sacrifice from the KEM hospital staff. 

User

COMMENTS

allzwell

2 years ago

It is a fact that the matter was dealt with extensively by the Supreme Court in a 38 pages order after hearing both parties. The views of KEM hospital doctors/ nurses probably were not worthy enough to be public debated. What would the situation be if say :
a) Aruna would have been assaulted outside the hospital ? She would have been left to die without care.
b) Hospital wanted to discharge her but who was willing to take care
c) should KEM then have stopped taking care and stop feeding and let her die long back - would there have been outrage for negligence and disregard by KEM ?
d) had Supreme Court allowed her to die, then KEM would have also absolved of it's responsibility and such a backlash and lack of acknowledgment. What vested interest could KEM have had ?
e) if the Court allowed the petitioner to take care of Aruna, would euthanasia be administered to free her soul and body from the captivity of a cruel KEM doctor and staff
Is it that for the PIL for euthanasia, a case was needed and no better that Aruna.
How many of us when told to take a call about ageing and ill parents even if on ventilator would give permission to let them go ?

Debates can be raged on every issue. But when matter is decided by the Court, can the debate disregard the facts on record. And if the affidavit is wrong, then a perjury should have been registered against KEM.

By such debates, we only hold out that there is no sense in doing any good deed as it is always the easiest to shun the responsibility and duty of care.

MOHAN SIROYA

2 years ago

Very good and pointed analysis by Minakshi Maheshwari and relevant too. While daily newspapers are agog with the plethora of pros and cons of Euthanasia and S C's refusal to allow that; in Moneylife, we are getting the other side of the coin which is more important viz; dedication and care of her employer and colleagues to safeguard the right to live by Aruna as human. State of vegetation was a fait accompli which was beyond help .
But I wonder ,if similar dedication and care will be possible and expected from BMC run hospitals for other common patients.

Ankur Agarwal

2 years ago

What a superb writeup by Ms. Minakshi Maheshwari. Needless to say the Nurses and the Doctors who have devoted their time in her upkeep were nothing short of Angels. With this deed the my faith in humanity once again rises above average. The write has depicted true feelings and I salute to the true spirits of KEM Hospital. Euthanasia till date remains a very debatable subject but till the time we have such compassionate doctors and staff as in KEM hospital, I would never vote in favour of Euthanasia.

Tax Tentacles – 4: Redefining What to Tax
It is time to re-examine the concept of tax on total income with the attendant hassles of inclusion and exclusion of incomes. We need to divert the income streams at source for public purposes. That would cut the tax tentacles at the root 
 

System Check

Income tax (I-T) originated in most countries as a means of filling the war chest. In India, the first income tax act was in 1860 to meet financial difficulties caused by the mutiny and was in force for five years. It imposed tax on each component and aggregation was not material. The great famine brought a revival in 1876 as a license tax on traders and continued for 10 years. From 1886, aggregation of income was material only for the initial exemption limit. The 1918 Act followed by the 1922 Act introduced the concepts of total income of the previous year as a measure of income of the assessment year. The 1961 Act made total income as computed as taxable income with advance tax system along with tax deduction at source (TDS) to collect the tax in the previous year itself! 
 
 
The method to achieve this was recommended in 1956 by Nikolas Kaldor in his report. It was a tight system with income tax, expenditure tax, wealth tax, and gift tax and estate duty. The tax chased you from womb to tomb. Earn and pay tax, spend and pay tax, save and pay tax, gift and pay tax and die and pay tax. The objective was socialistic distribution of excess wealth and all together, the maximum marginal rate went up to 97.75%, though Kaldor himself had recommended a ceiling of 45%. 
 
It is also a mistake to assume the possibility of equality because incomes of populations of different ages will change as they age. “There is no doubt that as an economy grows in a great way like India has, that you have to step back and change your tax systems, because you start to get more disparities of wealth” said Bill Gates.
 
When we look back, we find that the entire system has slowly changed to something else without anyone being aware of it or planning it. Let us see how this incrementation has happened. Expenditure Tax was abolished within three years of its introduction in 1956 and again revived in 1987 to tax expenditure in hotels, Gift tax was omitted with effect from 1 October 1982, Estate duty was abolished in 1984, and Wealth tax was reduced to tax on non-performing assets from 1 April 1988. However, we have other taxes such as Banking Cash Transaction Tax (BCTT), Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) [withdrawn later], Securities Transaction Tax (STT) and Service Tax. But they do not make any system as such. Studies have shown that instead of reducing inequalities the result has been a great divide between haves and have nots.
 
So it is time to look at the concept of tax on total income and its necessity. It is because of this concept, and the perception that there can be progressive tax on higher incomes, that we have the system of filing returns, which has developed the strangling tentacles. There is a choice-blindness in operation here - lack of awareness of our own decisions and preference.  People often fail to notice glaring mismatches between their intentions and outcomes, while, nevertheless, being prepared to offer introspectively derived reasons for why they chose the way they did. Tax on total income is not the system followed the world over. Most of the countries follow only withholding of tax, without requirement of filing returns by individuals other than self-employed such as UK and only few countries have this return filing system. Even there, the prefilled return system is adopted by most of the European countries.  
 

Evidence Based Policy

If we want to design a system with the main object of channelling the income of individuals for public purposes, we should first see which system will be effective. The present system of requiring individuals to file returns is burdensome and tempts evasion. What we need is a system of gathering the data, determining the tax and collecting it in the most effective way, with easy compliance. If, instead of computing the total income with the attendant hassles of inclusion and exclusion of incomes, we can divert the income streams at source for public purposes that would work effectively and efficiently. This will cut the tentacles at the root and bring the change we need while retaining the present order. 
 
It is not difficult for the department to get data to find out the outcomes of the present system. The return forms themselves are designed to sort them according to the income stream. ITR 1 is Sahaj for taxpayers with salary and interest income only. ITR 2 for those having income from property and capital gains also. In respect of income from business, ITR 3 is for firms, ITR 4 Sugam is for presumptive business ITR 5 for individuals and ITR 6 is for companies, which are not trusts. If only the number of returns filed under each type is analysed there will be evidence to indicate which stream of income requires what kind of treatment.
 
(This is fourth part of a multi-part series on the vexing Indian tax system and the path to genuine reforms, adapted from Justice S Rangarajan Memorial Lecture in Bangalore delivered recently)
 
Tomorrow: Part5 - A New Approach Based on Streams of Income
 
You may also want to read…
 
 
 
 (Justice TNC Rangarajan is a former judge of Madras and Andhra Pradesh High Courts. Earlier, for more than 20 years, he was a Judicial Member of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal.)
 

User

COMMENTS

Ankur Bhatnagar

2 years ago

What are the fundamental principles of taxation? It seems to me that taxes are determined arbitrarily by the government.

The constitution should guarantee some protection to the citizens from the government in matters of taxation just as it gives the citizens the freedom of speech, including criticising the government.

Taxes are a mechanism for a government to fund itself to meet its expenses. Government expenses are common expenses for the citizens (for example, defence) and therefore they together must share those expenses. Taxes are supposed to be a slice of transactions among the citizens. These transactions could be salary payment, sale, production, import, export, etc.

The constitution should set upper limits to what the government can charge as tax. Certain transactions are taxed at even over 100%. Such charges are exploitative and constitution must protect the citizens from government's exploitation.

In my view, the upper limit should be something like 15-20% of the transaction. That is, there should be no tax that will be higher than 15% (or 20%). The citizens are after all not slaves of the government.

Today an average citizen ends up paying around half of his salary in taxes. Approximately 25% is income tax alone. Then there are excise, sales tax and service tax on the items he buys from the salary after tax. The supplier also pays import duties and his own (and also of his employees) income tax. All that is built into the price of the item. The constitution should protect the citizens from excessive taxation as it impinges on citizen's right to life. The constitution should have a directive for the government so that it ensures that the total tax outgo for the citizens (including direct and indirect taxes) should not be more than 15-20% of their income.

This fresh approach to taxation will galvanise the economy and will make for a much stronger and happier country.

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)