Somesh Arora: Proposed Tax for Super-rich

For the forthcoming budget, the enhanced tax slab for super-rich is being debated. With the moderation of tax structure being the avowed aim of liberalisation, the tax on super-rich may only turnout to be a tax on some of the rich employees. If the government is really serious about garnering some revenue and also in taxing the super-rich then ideally it should tax the dividend of more than Rs 50 lakhs being received in the hands of an individual at a higher slab of 40%. With the Director’s fees being in most cases subjected to Service Tax, this is the only area by which super-rich can be taxed and a good amount of revenue can be collected. Hope the present FM will do some out of  the box thinking and shall be receptive to the idea rather than just taxing the salary and other incomes  of miniscule well paid employees, while leaving aside the rich dividend recipients, who are mainly corporates Managing Directors, who as the track record shows have indulged more in amassing wealth and building individual assets for luxury rather than doing anything substantial for meeting the social responsibilities of the nation, despite being reminded about it by the PM of the country. As a measure of empowerment of such tax payers, they can be asked to indicate their choice for the areas where they would like such tax to be spent.    

 All for the sake of Kachorris- Maharaja`s employees taste buds.
Despite pumping in so much of money, the bad news continues  to pour for  Air India. With the fleet of its Dreamliner Aircrafts, which was supposed to ensure its turn around, and which consumed most of its financial package, already grounded. The whims and fancies of some of its errant staff also causes a financial drain for it. This, apart from, operating on not so lucrative routes and providing below par passenger services. The Maharaja must be worried as it had to recently deal with tantrums of one of its “Kachorri Queen” as its pilot. In this instance, the pilot was keen to collect her Kachhoris ordered to be picked from Jodhpur. And for that she preferred to fly the aircraft to Jodhpur rather than taking it direct to Delhi and for which she was directed to fly. This left the passengers in the lurch and facing the ordeal. Perhaps this may be the classic example of its kind in the civil aviation history where a pilot preferred her individual indulgence to the call of duty and thereby invited vigilance action. On the flip side,  if the Halwais and Namkeenwallas of Jodhpur decide to get their onion Kachhoris registered under the Geographical Indications Act, then the caption ‘the Kachhoris that can make the Maharajas go stray’ can provide a good punch line to indicate their popularity.

PPP projects- in a state of disarray- The Reliance Airport  Metro Express has finally started with a 50% hike in its fare and 60% slowing of its pace.  In a situation, typically similar to the `hare and tortoise story’, the Delhi Metro was started with a maximum speed of 60 and with much lower fare and continues to work uninterrupted, whereas Reliance Metro which was claiming to have a peak speed of 150 and fare four times that of ordinary metro was not only out of action for months but is also now moving slower and is much more expensive. So much for the viability and running of PPP projects by our corporate giants who are keen to have lucrative monopoly contracts, but perform miserably when parallels are available for comparison. As if that was not enough, the KMP Expressway launched with much fanfare and which was supposed to be the lifeline of development in Haryana is far from complete, even in 2013 when the deadline for the same was 2009, there is hardly any work in progress as the project is marred by acquisition issues and even about 20% of the work is hardly completed on the ground. Even the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway has only impeded the traffic between the two cities and the contractor was last trying to wriggle out by selling its stake in the project to IFCI. It is clearly one thing to quote lower rates in competitive bidding and to deliver on ground when it comes to achieving desired results by PPP stakeholders. Even the governments which are quick to announce such projects aping the pace of China hardly have the will to sort out the acquisition issues at the earliest leaving the Infra Projects which are considered engines of growth in disarray.


Old pontoon bridge no more- It was here for decades, gone today

 In one of the biggest day light robberies of public property in New Delhi, the famous and historical Pontoon bridge standing on its iron capsules has been stolen through the nexus of Delhi scrap dealers and PWD officials by forging a fake license from PWD and a permission letter from U.P. Irrigation department. The boat bridge was originally known to have been used by mutineers in 1857 to reach Delhi from Meerut. Five tonnes were stated to be recovered during investigations kept in a godown in Delhi. It is surprising that robbers could get away from whole of the Traffic Police all these days when they were taking away the bridge part by part. Now the next question is whether the Authorities have the wherewithal to prevent Taj being sold to any marble dealer in future and cops at the street level are intelligent enough to check removal documents presented for the purpose. One is reminded of the traffic cops of good old days wanting to copy Central Excise officials to make extra buck and ending up demanding gate passes from the lorries carrying live birds which were to be slaughtered to be made chickens (which was not having any Central Excise duty) in a hotel.