Lets face the truth. No individual in India pays income tax except that micro minority who are salaried employees and who pay taxes through TDS. Statistics show that for the year 2014-15, the total tax assessees in India are 3.91 crore out of a population of 125 crores, making them to be around 3%. Of these, 2.97 crore earning less than 5 lakhs can be discounted as tax payers. The real tax paying salaried class is in the range 10 lakhs to 50 lakhs and that constitutes around 30 lakhs of assessees (I would rather have the range from 7 lakhs but due to numbers lacking, I will confine myself to 10 lakh). Anyone above this, they are either into business executive cadre whose salary is tagged to company performance or entrepreneurial. Anyone below that range pays not that much of tax allowing them not to feel the pinch. Now coming to that 30 lakhs who are in the no man zone. Paying about a quarter of India’s net tax collection, they are the actual milking cow of India with no voice whatsoever. No one covets them as vote banks because they are migrants and are not the vote bank. No government thinks of their welfare because they are not poor. They exist only for one purpose – pay taxes honestly so that government can spend that money on welfare elsewhere.
But, we are missing one very important thing regarding them. They are the real highly skilled workforce of India. It’s because of their services, the wheels of the economy run. Their education and social stature is sufficient enough to influence the masses around them. They are apolitical, they are patient and they think of the society more than others because a considerable part of them came from the lower echelons into that category. A housemaid believes her employer more than Modi. Take one simple example – the application BHIM. Modi is campaigning for it. But, whom will people listen to and trust? It’s, ironically, these 30 lakh people only. If they like that application, others will follow suit – may be we don’t know what’s good in it; because he liked it, it should be good. It is that class of people who subconsciously teach discipline to the society. Masses follow them and try to emulate their habits. Anyone above them fit into the mould but they are more insulated from the society.
They are the ones who make educated comments in online forums and help mould mass opinions. And note, Kejriwal comes from the same class and he is but an example of how dangerous this class can be and how tough it is to cow this class. And by virtue of being the capable of migrating out of the country, rubbing them the wrong way can lead to severe brain drain, potentially irreplaceable.
Forget about the chest thumping, what are they getting in return from the government? A big zero except occasional tax slab changes. 30 lakhs is not such a big number to provide some special incentive. May be, quotas in schools? May be, exemption from some sort of taxes and cesses? May be, rebate on loans? May be free entry into some locations like ASI monuments? Recognise them and motivate them, they can do wonders for the country.
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