This refers to the editorial “Taxing times” (FE, November 29). A very interesting observation has been made in the PwC report on paying taxes, one of significance and one that could change the way our government always appears to be low on revenue and the taxman running after supposed defaulters to get his rightful due. As many as 243 hours are spent in India to pay taxes versus just 82 in Singapore. It's a bad result which should nudge the tax department to get its actions right. It has initiated steps to change the system, but the question can be correctly framed in Angela Merkel’s words: “The question is not whether we are changing, but are we changing fast enough?” Banks already have a humongous database of people—in the form of KYC documents, PAN, credit card numbers, spending habits—all this needs to be monitored in an efficient yet un-intrusive manner to the benefit of both the public and the government. The tax net has to be cast wide and deep rather than closing in tightly the existing catch. It is indeed a challenge, but we need to fast-track Aadhaar enrolment also. It would help give a digital identity to every living soul in this country and then may create a system which automatically looks for discrepancies in income and spending.
Gaurav Gupta, New Delhi
The sugar mess in Uttar Pradesh is of the state’s own making. Instead of “Sugar-coating bad policies” (FE, November 28), the government should be able to formulate policies that are innovative and progressive without causing any new drain on the economy or harm to the economy. The present crisis arises because of the high state advised price to please farmers. It has been rightly pointed out by Ashok Gulati, the chairman of CACP, that the “Centre should stay away from the UP sugar mess” (FE, November 28). The Uttar Pradesh government should bear the difference of the price between the state advised price and the remunerative free price. It may apply to other states as well.
Jacob Sahayam Thiruvananthapuram
No temporary medicine
Apropos of the editorial “Sugar-coating bad policies” (FE, November 28), the Uttar Pradesh government’s endeavour to rescue the sugarcane farmers and mill-owners by any loan package seems tentative and electoral-gain-oriented one. The permanent solution lies in completely decontrolling the sugar sector, so that equilibrium and flexible prices could be fixed which will not pinch the cost and revenue