TODAY -

E-Pao! Incident - N Times Taxing

N Times Taxing
* Anonymous Singh



Many of us, rather all of us, are aware that multiple taxing exists in Manipur. One of the articles posted in a Manipur related website also mentions about the problem of taxing in Manipur. A parallel government has formed in Manipur by the so-called militant groups. Since there are so many groups, there are many governments in Manipur, as a result, multiple taxing.

In addition to the so-called tax they impose on the people of Manipur, they also ask for donations, which are often "forced donations". An equivalent term would be extortion. An example would be the recent incident of kidnapping and killing Mr. Shetty and many others that are unheard of.

Why do militant groups tax people? The answer is simple. They want to survive. They want money for buying arms and ammunitions, wages for their party members etc. Since there seems to be any sympathizer for them, they are often forced to collect the money in a way people do not like. The means they use are "forced donations", taxing Government employees including the police officers and the ministers, taxing organizations like the Bus owners', truck owners' etc. As mentioned by the writer of the article the burden of tax in case of taxes imposed on business organizations like the truck owners', the bus owners' and other traders clearly fall on the people. Or in other words all the people living in Manipur are paying taxes to these organizations indirectly or directly.

Why is the price of potato per kg in Manipur always high? It is because of the tax these groups impose on the traders and the truck owners. The tax is passed on to the people. The people end up paying more. As an example, militant groups impose tax on the truck that carries potato from Guwahati to Imphal. Price of potato goes up. Other organization imposes tax on the trader who is going to buy the potato in Imphal. The price again goes up. And again tax is being imposed on the bus or truck that is going to carry the potato to different parts of Manipur. Price goes up again. The final tax is imposed on the trader who is going to buy the bags of potato in different parts of Manipur. And the end buyers or the consumers who buy these potatoes are paying the tax. (Is potato an inelastic product? Meaning change of price will not affect the demand or supply of potato. Never mind. I am just playing around. I don't know much economics either.) This is not just the case of potato but almost every item in Manipur.

So many organizations (militant groups) have sprung up in Manipur that they are competing among themselves to get a share of the pie of the limited revenue they can generate - "forced donations" and taxes. People are complaining to them that they have to pay so many taxes to different groups. It is kind of survival of fittest among the militant groups - trying new ways to collect money. The forced donations have taken an ugly turn lately with some organization using the means of threatening, kidnapping and even killing in some cases. And the so-called "mayangs" is an easy target for them since they think that they are a minority community and people's sentiments with regard to them would be different.

For the people in these organizations, most of them are immature and have not even earned a single paise before joining the militant group which means that they do not understand the value of money and they do not know how to earn it. The first money they would have ever earned must have been by extorting other people's hard earned money. Extorting is equivalent to stealing so it can be said that they literally survive by stealing other people's money.

What made the people in these organizations to leave the mainstream and join hands with their likeminded people to do such things? Is the government responsible for this? Yes, to a lot of extent the government is responsible for this. Corruptions from clerks to bureaucrats to ministers have crippled Manipur. Since time immemorial, even before I was born, corruption has existed. Corruption existed in ancient times too. Corruption exists in the most developed countries in the world. It existed and will continue to exist. It is something that cannot be totally eliminated. But corruption in Manipur has resulted into a total collapse of the system. It has come at a price unthinkable of - the price being the current situation of Manipur. People no more think that they can get a job on merit basis or can go to a college or school on merit basis in Manipur. The law and order situation has deteriorated to a pathetic level. People have never trusted the corrupt police officers.

Why has this happened? I would say that almost all the people living in Manipur are selfish and have a corrupted mind. If they are not good enough for the job, they won't let it go. They use money to get the job and would not think about the other guy who is more suitable for the job than him. The clerks, bureaucrats and the ministers would happily accept the bribe and give the job to the person who can give the highest amount. This has resulted into an accumulation of inefficient people in the government and has allowed the process of bribing to continue causing frustrations to those who do not have enough money to bribe the officers and ministers. In a way, the clerks, bureaucrats and ministers also survive by stealing. Taking bribe is also equivalent to stealing.

The people itself encourage the bribing process and still they think it is the clerks, ministers and bureaucrats who are responsible for this. In a way, the clerks, bureaucrats and ministers are responsible for the corruption that exists because if someone doesn't pay the bribes to the officers, others will and they will be left behind. It is hard to see who is responsible for bribing - the officers and ministers or the people of Manipur who encourage it. As an example of bribing, during the election time the people would happily accept the money that is paid by the ministers to vote for them. In this case people are being bribed to vote for the minister. And when it comes for the minister to recover the money he spent in election, people cry aloud "corruption, corruption, everywhere corruption". This situation is similar to Newton's third law: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

Education is an important pillar to build a society. Are people in Manipur getting good education? The corruption problem comes here. Many people, who cannot afford to send their children to expensive private schools, send them to state schools. Who teaches the state schools? The teachers who are recruited by the government teach the state schools. How are they recruited? Yes, you guessed it right -paying bribes - inefficient teachers are recruited. Because inefficient teachers, who often do not go to school, teach the children, who are the future of Manipur, problems such as multiple taxing have aroused.

It is not surprising that many teachers prefer to be posted in the hills because that way they can stop going to school and also draw their monthly salary. Many teachers have not even been to the school they are supposed to teach. For the children who were fortunate or should I say unfortunate to have been taught by those bribe paying teachers do not get the kind of education they should get in order to compete in this competitive world. (It is evident from the recent X and XII results.) Since they were not guided properly at an early age, they do not know the value of education and they start thinking that bribing is the only way. Frustration and ignorance often lead them to take the wrong way. The government should atleast spare the education department free from corruption so that the children of Manipur become the building blocks. Wait, wait, wait - Whom am I asking to improve the education department? The Government? Didn't I say that the government is corrupted? Who is going to fix the problem then? For the time being, the parallel government formed by the militant groups seems to be trying to fix the problem. And the parallel government, as mentioned before has been formed because of the failure of state.

Who is responsible for everything that is going on in Manipur? Eventually it comes to the parents. Whether he is a chief minister of Manipur taking bribes or a revolutionary killing people and extorting, they have a parent and their parents have brought them up. Are the parents in Manipur so bad and irresponsible that they cannot stop their children from stealing, bribing and killing? Is it because the parents cannot instill good values to their kids? Or is it because those inefficient teachers taught the parents and they could not learn anything substantial during their school days? A lot of work has to be done in educating these parents so that they start paying attention to what their children do. Did they teach their children to steal and kill when they brought up them? Isn't it a shame on the parents who have allowed such things to happen?

One more thing, I would like to mention here is that the parents - the women folk of Manipur - who recently cried aloud on the incident of killing of Mr. Shetty are reactive to the situation. They react to the situation rather than trying to be proactive. They should have been good parents so that such things would not have happened.

I have talked a lot about why we are being taxed N times and what might be the cause for this problem. I would also like to talk about what can be the consequence of taxing N times and what can be done to fix the problems. Writing all these things would make it boring for you guys to read on so I will write it in my next part. My ending of this article is like Matrix Reloaded that ends with "To be concluded". Till then, goodbye and thank you for taking out time to read this.


* The writer says " I would be happy to receive your comments about this article.
You can send your comments to n_times_taxing@yahoo.com "


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