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    Rabble Rousing Random Ramblings by S Jagadish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

    December 15, 2006

    Left parties strike again

    Last September, the Loony Left/Crazy Commies created chaos when trade unions affiliated to them struck work, affecting ordinary citizens severely. The Loony Left got away with it. They continue to run with the hares and hunt with the hounds.

    Yesterday, the same trade unions struck work, in protest against the Indian government's economic and labour policies.

    Today, December 15th, is the last date for those paying advance tax as part of their income tax returns. It is thus a safe assumption that yesterday and today would have seen a lot of such people queueing up to make their payments. Yet, the strike date was nicely chosen to ensure the maximum disruption to 'honest' tax-payers.

    I was in Madras yesterday on a personal visit and I decided to make my advance tax payment since I wouldn't have been able to do it today. Canara Bank was closed. They refused to accept any payments since they were on strike. ICICI Bank (Nungambakkam High Road) was open. They were accepting payments till 6 pm. Ah! Light! But they didn't stock forms. I went to a State Bank of India branch nearby. They didn't stock forms. The Bank of Baroda branch opposite ICICI Bank also didn't stock forms. When I inquired, I was told that I could get the forms from 'Aaykar Bhavan' on Nungambakkam High Road.

    I went to the Income Tax office (Aaykar Bhavan!) and I found no-one at the counter where the forms were proudly displayed. I saw a door behind the counter and officials chatting away merrily inside. I barged in, and asked for someone to tell me which form I should fill out for making my advance tax payment. I was brusquely told that the Income Tax department was also supporting the strike and hence no-one would come out and work. One of them told me that I wasn't supposed to come inside the room. I told them that given the last day of paying taxes was the 15th, it was ridiculous to strike work on the 14th and that I would stay in the room until someone came out to clarify my doubts. After a lot of grumbling, one person came out and told me which form to fill up.

    I then filled up the form and deposited my tax payment at ICICI.

    A government which is so spineless that it can't do anything when parties supporting it organize mass chaos and strikes, doesn't deserve to be in power, regardless of the ability/respectability/qualifications of the Prime Minister. A system which penalizes tax-payers by forcing them to turn up on the last day, and also possibly incur penalties since the cheques wouldn't be cleared until a day after the deadline, because trade unions strike work, is blatantly unfair and unjust. Why can't banks (private & public) keep copies of the various forms necessary? A system where tax payers need to run to multiple places to make their payments is as unfriendly as you can get.

    I know judicial activism has been frowned upon recently, but I would be very pleased if those responsible for the strike yesterday were penalized, heavily, to set an example.

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