Adyar Gopal Parivar
The Price of Being an Indian

               It is a privilege to belong to the
country of your birth and residence, and
claim your rights under the Constitution of
that country. Because, then you can travel
across borders, claim all the dues from the
government of the country, and get your
body buried or whatever after your death
within the country to which you belong. You
might get your education and training at a
cheaper rate and get a job either in the
government or in other establishments,
institutions, factories, offices, or shops. You
can also set up your own business, small or
big shops, own land, build houses and other
buildings, get married, raise a family, and
generally live in that country in peace. But
there is a price that comes tagged for being
citizen of any country and India is no
exception.
                In the past, many centuries ago,
there were borders drawn for a certain
number of villages as a unit. Many such
units were conjoined to form larger areas
and a name was given to identify such
larger areas. Representatives of each unit
became members in the administrative
bodies of the larger areas. Later a person
was appointed as the spokesman for the
area. This person was called the King.
Many of the offices of the representatives,
including that of the King became
hereditary. But there were disputes
between these areas and wars were fought
or peace was made to solve the disputes. In
the last century (20th) the borders of these
areas now called the nations were made
firm by being identified with scientific
mapping and common scale. Many of these
nations became republics. And international
treaties gave these nations a right to exist
peacefully. These countries created entry
and exit points for people and goods and
collected customs duties and other taxes.
               The nations formed
representative bodies and assemblies and
drafted and adopted their Constitution or
charter of citizen rights.
                From the beginning, there were
many small kingdoms in the area now called
India. 'India of the past' had large areas from
the present Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma,
Sri Lanka included in it as a geographical
entity. Some of the Kings ruled very large
areas within this India but probably no
single King ruled entire 'India of the past' in
the recorded history of India. Now of course
the present India is a truncated piece of
land with a well-drawn border. During the
British rule, there were kingdoms and
provinces. The provinces were ruled by the
British government directly. The kingdoms
were vassals of the British Government.
When the British granted independence to
these kingdoms and provinces, in 1947,  
separate nations were created. These
nations were India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka,
Burma, Nepal etc. In 1971, Pakistan lost its
eastern province and Bangladesh came into
being. India became a republic on 26th
January, 1950. The new Constitution of
India promised vast citizen rights. A
parliamentary form of government came into
existence. There were states and union
territories named and elected representative
governments were established in the states.
A federal form of governance came into
existence.
                In 1947 when the British India
was partitioned to create India that is
Bharath and Pakistan, there was migration
of the people from one area to the other.
There were killings and other crimes
committed during these migrations. Later
there were disputes regarding certain states
resulting in wars between Pakistan and
India several times. There was a big war
between China and India also in 1962
leading to loss of large Indian areas to
China.
                
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THE PRICE OF BEING AN INDIAN
by Mohan Shenoy
Adyar Gopal and Radha Bai
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  The Constitution of India is a charter of
rights of the citizens and includes many
sections, clauses and schedules. It is a
guide based on which the government
draws the laws, rules and regulations
(LRR). The citizens are bound by these
LRR and the Judiciary decides merits
and demerits of these LRR vis-à-vis the
Constitution.
               This is a fair arrangement and
the citizens of India can breath easy and
be reassured that their rights will be
protected under the Constitution. There
are however certain duties that we the
citizens of the country have to perform
and one such is pay all the taxes as per
the LRR. The taxes are varied and
classified as direct and indirect. The
direct taxes are those taxes which the
citizen pays out of his pocket. The
indirect taxes are those which he pays
another person or entity such as the
customs, excise or other departments
which later pay these monies to the
government.
               The representatives elected by
the citizens in the units and areas (the
parliament and state assemblies) meet
and collectively decide on the tax rates,
deductions, exemptions etc.  Every
citizen has to abide by the demands for
taxes. Those who evade taxes are liable
for punishment ranging from fines to
imprisonment.  It is a good practice for
every citizen to pay the customs duties
and taxes as per the LRR. It is not a
good thing if the citizen bribes the
corrupt officials to gain a favour to pay
less or no tax and duties.
Not every rupee one earns is subject to
tax. There is exemption from tax for any
income under certain amount. This limit
was Rs. 1,10,000 for financial year
beginning from 1st April 2007 to 31st
March 2008. This means a person with
net taxable income upto Rs. 1,10,000
need not pay any tax on his income. Net
taxable income is arrived at after certain
deductions and exemptions of the total
income. Income is further classified as
arising from salary, house property,
profession and business, capital gains,
and other sources. Every citizen
regardless whether he has taxable
income or not should attempt to learn
these terms. The income tax department
has named the financial year as the
previous year because it is the year
during which the income is earned and
falls previous to the assessment year.
Assessment year is the year following
the financial year (previous year) in
which tax assessment is conducted.
               It is a good practice for every
citizen to keep a book of accounts
regardless if he has taxable income or
not. This is book-keeping.
               One who pays taxes, even a
few hundred rupees can create a
document for himself/herself so that he
will have a right to spend his money
without any fear. He/she can also keep
away from bad habits which he/she
acquires by trying to spend black money.
Black money is income for which tax is
not paid. The major bad habits a person
acquires with black money are
alcoholism, drug addiction, debauchery,
horse racing gambling, paying
bribes,and getting illegal work done.
               The GSB community is a
law-abiding community and without
exception the members of this community
pay the taxes honestly and fully which I
am very proud to state here.

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