Editorial

Only slogans

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 11/1/2018 12:33:34 PM IST

 Unabated, multiple taxation and syndication of entire trade and business of Dimapur continues to be the number one problem which are growing despite hue and cry in public rallies while the state government has shown no political will to confront the menace for fear of rocking the boat. Five years ago on October 31, the first massive protest rally was held at Clock Tower Junction in Dimapur and later a year back in August 2017, where the biggest ever rally was held at the Naga Shopping Arcade Dimapur. The slogan then was for ‘One Government One Tax’ of the Naga Political Groups, and not ‘many governments’. The slogan today has changed into ‘Solution not Taxation’. The change of slogan is a significant shift in thinking which reveals a desire to remove the cloud of uncertainty over political solution and to close the chapter of forcible collections in the name of Naga national movement through a solution. There are no two opinions among the common people as to what the government of India and the NPGs have to do in order to let them live in peace. There are at least half a dozen groups collecting taxes. After the August 2017 public rally against multiple taxation and syndication of the entire market, the state government was compelled to constitute the Higher Power Committee headed by retired Supreme Court judge H.K.Sema to study the issue and submit recommendations to the government. When the term ‘multiple taxation’ is used, it is to mean that goods are taxed several times by various groups, unions or organisations when transport trucks enter Nagaland( Dimapur). First, transport trucks or carriers are taxed on the basis of tonnage or number of wheels. Medium and light commercial vehicles including buses are taxed under different slabs. Goods transported by trucks are also taxed and the same goods are taxed at godowns. Later at retail shops, the goods are again taxed. On top of transport tax are livestock tax imposed by syndicate dealers appointed by NPGs. Dealers are appointed for various items and they are to pay some amount to the ‘appointing authority’ and only through them (dealers) can goods can be sold in the market. Also if any one wants to sell a brand of a product, it will be disallowed since the particular product has to be purchased from the appointed dealer. There are also tax on labour as registration and construction works at sites. This is in addition to tax /extortion imposed on contractors’ bills when payments are released. Sometimes, the taxes are collected in advance on percentage over the estimated contract amount. Even the labourers are taxed again after having to pay work permits or ID Cards. The government is not ignorant about these activities as it has been dealing with the problem by banning all forms of collections through media in the form of information on whom to pay and whom not to pay. In the past, the state government was clear about what was legal or illegal by warning those involved. Since normal laws are inadequate to tackle such crimes, a lawyer has suggested enactment of a law similar to the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act,1999. MCOC tackles contract killing, extortion, smuggling in contrabands, illegal trade in narcotics kidnappings for ransom, collection of protection money and money laundering, etc. Right thinking law makers need to seriously ponder over the problem as the situation is only worsening.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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