UPA's Stars Reflect the Light of Their Company, Not Aam Aadmi
A leader is known by the company he keeps. Or by the company he avoids. Last week, two prominent pillars of the UPA betrayed the nature of the company both have been keeping lately. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is one of the most respectable political leaders who rarely spoke for the classes and kept the company of the masses. Salman Khurshid, the Oxford-educated legal eagle and Union law minister, is known for his secular and pragmatic approach to politics. But both Pranabda and Khurshid sprang a surprise when one spoke for the classes and the other for a community.
A study of returns filed before 2010 by 4.27 lakh companies shows the effective tax rate was only 23.53 per cent as against the statutory rate of over 33 per cent. Moreover, smaller companies end up paying higher taxes than industry giants. While companies with profits up to `1 crore ended up with an effective tax rate of 25.52 per cent, the ones with profits of over `500 crore paid 22.05 per cent on an average. The finance minister should actually be losing sleep over the rising death of infants, burgeoning unemployment, the rare availability of drinking water and the hopelessly low quality of health facilities for the rural and urban poor. A recent FICCI study on healthcare infrastructure revealed India barely has 0.9 beds per 1,000 people.
The finance minister should be spending more and more sleepless nights over the growing number of unemployed youth in India. During the past seven years of the UPA rule, the unemployment rate has risen from less than 7 per cent to almost 10 per cent now. The number of people living below the poverty line has gone up. While the number of Indian billionaires listed by foreign publications may have gone up to 300, the per capita availability of foodgrain is much lower now than what it was five decades ago. The law minister should be crying over the denial of justice to the poor because of poor legal infrastructure and killing of innocent poor people by terrorists and Naxalites. Unfortunately, both august ministers seem to prefer speaking the language of only those who have easy access to them, than of those who put them in power.
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