Somesh Arora: The invincible Anna warriors

SELDOM has any movement in the recent past caught so much of imagination of all segments of age groups and society as this one did. While they may be differing views regarding the details and legality of the methods, no one can deny that the cause was appropriate and so were the means. For a nation, whose youth was getting so disillusioned and was taking up arms over the last two decades, the Gandhian way of ensuring victory for all and defeat for none was sure an experience to emulate. If this becomes the trend, there can be sure a bidding of farewell to arms in the years to come. While it appears that congress had its own “Garams” (Chidambram, Sibal and Tiwari instead of Lal, Bal and Pal) and “Narams” (Singh, Gandhi and Mukherjee) during negotiations,  the only difference was that it was this time in the hot seat itself. Eventually, however the Congress can also walk with its head held high, if the legislation is passed during its own tenure. We only wish that the trend of peaceful methods of agitation spreads even to the neighboring regions, for that alone can ensure the cessation of extremism witnessed over the last thirty years. The defeat of Anna warriors will have only symbolized failure of peaceful methods and will have ensured the taking up of arms by more disgruntled youth. This was the biggest stake during the agitation and our elective representatives deserve kudos to have risen to the occasion in reinstating faith in peaceful methods, of the people of India.

The service tax and the negative list

The much awaited negative list of services is now in public domain and available for discussion. The indicative list has 27 entries categorized into 9 main heads.

 Following suggestions are made at this initial stage of the debate:

(a)        There is a need to cover even the illegal services on the same line on which these are covered even under the Income Tax Act. Therefore, Service as defined in Para 5.2 may include as entry G- any service provided which is otherwise prohibited under any law like betting and gambling, immoral trafficking, contraband carrying or the like. Further, the definition  of ‘service’ should also include rights like chose-in- actions [like lottery ticket- as held by the Apex Court in Sunrise Associates versus Govt. of NCT Delhi (2006) 5 SCC 603 ] apart from supply of goods, money or immovable property.

(b)        As a corollary to the above, the expression ‘Betting and gambling’ can be deleted from Entry 27 of the Negative list.

(c)        Agriculture and Animal Husbandry (Entry 3; Sub-Entry 6 in the negative list) should also include sericulture and fisheries.

(d)        The Negative list (Entry-9; Sub- Entry 18) relating to copyright services of original literary work can explicitly include preparation of legal briefs by Advocates.

(e)        Entry 9, Sub-Entry 20 should include sportsperson or any other person so as to include physiotherapists, sports video analysts, statisticians, grounds men in its ambit.

(f)         Services provided by informers to the Government departments in tax matters and matters relating to public policy and security of the nation.

(g)        Compensation paid by the state for requisition of services.

(h)        Transport of passengers by railways whether owned by government or by any other person should also be included under Entry 5; Sub- entry 11.

The story of voluntary missing officer and twelve search teams

Over a dozen police teams were constituted to search for Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Naveen Jain, who went missing from a restaurant in Rajasthan's Alwar district on 30th August. Jain, 36, who was posted as commissioner in the state's settlement department in Jaipur, left behind a note for his wife and son saying they should take care of themselves. His wife Sunita alerted Police within less than 30 minutes after she found the note in a car parked in a restaurant, where the three were having their breakfast before the officer departed. While they were having food, Jain got up from the table on the pretext of making a call and walked out. Jain then left a note in their car parked outside. In the note, he repented that he had not been able to provide a house to his family. The entire state police machinery was jolted into action following the officer's disappearance. Teams have been rushed to Haryana and Delhi and exit routes of the state are being checked. Little wonder, that we have little police available in each state for solving heinous crimes. We had heard of sit- ins and Dharnas for getting the demands met, but this perhaps the first time, a desertion has taken place of home makers for not getting a house.