A novel initiative to deal with the scourge of black money has been suggested by the Confederation of NGOs in Rural India (CNRI), urging the Government to create a cadre of social workers who would work as informants to intimate the authorities about those in possession of unaccounted or black money.
"Government should announce that a cadre of social workers (informants) will be created all over the country and they will intimate the Government after 31/03/2012, if anybody is in possession of unaccounted or black money. Such informants will be treated as social workers and will be paid 10% of the amount disclosed by the defaulters", Mohan Dharia, former Commerce Minister and Chairman of CNRI , has petitioned to union finance minister in a note submitted for pre-budget consideration for 2012-13.
Releasing the contents of the note, Dharia told PTI that Government should categorically state that such defaulters will be treated as anti-nationals and will be criminally prosecuted with a punishment of 5 years rigorous imprisonment, in addition to confiscation of all the assets and money belonging to them.
"It is learnt that more than Rs 20 lac crores of rupees are in the form of black money in India and billions of rupees in Swiss or other foreign banks. With this measure Government shall have crores of rupees available for development purposes. There cannot be any reason for resorting to deficit financing or any debt now burdening the Government," Dharia, a former deputy chairman of Planning Commission said.
Special Fast Track Courts (SFTC) should be set up for speedy trials of such corrupt anti-national people.
Noting that both the Planning Commission and Central and State Governments have conceded that gap in between rich and the poor has been widening every day, he said to bridge the gap, Government should levy luxury tax on all excessive properties held by them.
"Those who hold more than 3,000 sq ft built-up area should be asked to pay Rs 5 per additional sq ft having in possession. Similarly those who are having more than 10,000 sq ft open area should pay Rs. 5 per additional sq ft held by them.", he suggested in the note sent to Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
Dharia said luxiury tax should be applicable for all the cities having population of more than 5,00,000. Similarly it should be levied on all articles such as limousines costing more than Rs 10 lacs according to the prevailing market price.
"Luxury Tax should be applicable every year. This could fetch more than Rs 1 lac crores of rupees every year to the Government exchequer," the former union commerce minister said expanding on details of the pre-budget discussion note.
Those who have huge assets, properties and ornaments should be covered under the Luxury Tax to generate additional revenue and also help in bringing down the huge gap between rich and the poor, he added.
Referring to possible effects of global warming ,the CNRI said India could face acute shortage of food-grains and drinking water after 40-50 years and suggested following measures to counter it:
(a) All lands including massive waste or degraded lands should be brought under some cultivation within a span of 10 years through time bound programme of Scientific Micro Watershed Management.
(b) All lands under culture should be made more productive by using hybrid varieties, modern science and technology. This programme could take care of additional food-grains required for the country.
(c) It is necessary to have nearly 33% of the area under green cover. Time bound programme of 10 years should be undertaken for afforestation, horticulture and other species including grasses for green cover.
(d) By making wastelands productive, additional productivity through existing land under culture and afforestation, it would be possible to generate employment to millions of our people in rural areas.
"Unplanned, haphazard and ugly urbanization has created several problems for cities. Neglect of rural areas have virtually destroyed rural India and people are fleeing to cities in search of employment or to get amenities like water, education, sanitation or security for the down-trodden.
It has, therefore, become inevitable to enrich our rural areas by developing natural resources like water, soil, cattle wealth, fisheries on 7,000 KM of our sea-shores and huge water reservoirs created in the country. Simultaneously planned horticultural, medicinal plantation programmes could generate wealth and also ample employment opportunities", it emphasised.
Reverse Migration "Back to village" as preached by Mahatma Gandhiji is the only effective solution to solve the problems of villages and also cities, the note said.
"If my two suggestions regarding bringing out black money and levy of Luxury Tax are sincerely implemented, there cannot be any dearth of the money for the above mentioned programmes to be developed. Budget should not be treated as merely debit and credit account, but it should be an effective instrument for economic transformation", Dharia, who was recently felicitated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his work in field of rural development and afforestation, observed.