OFF THE RECORD

Directly simple tax now

The popular answer is no. Even Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee thinks so. “The Income Tax Act is written in such a complicated manner that for an average person it is too difficult to understand. I myself find difficulty in understanding various sections of the Act,” a smiling Mukherjee candidly admitted while releasing the draft Direct Tax Code (DTC) recently.
The DTC, which seeks to replace the archaic Income Tax Act, 1961, is striving to put in place a new regime of Direct Taxes including personal Income Tax in a simple language to avoid scope for litigation.
“In DTC we have made an attempt to avoid ambiguity in the provisions that invariably give rise to rival interpretations. Once the DTC is in place you do not have to run to lawyers seeking clarifications,” Mukherjee said with a smile while looking at Home Minister P Chidambaram, who was also present at the function.
“I think our lawyer friends will be unhappy with this,” Mukherjee said humourously while a smiling Chidambaram, who himself is an eminent lawyer, nodded his head in agreement.
When Chidambaram’s turn came to say a few words on the occasion he said: “DTC is altogether a fresh attempt to impart simplicity to Income Tax Act.”
“I have a suggestion to make on how to read the DTC. Do not keep the Income Tax Act, 1961, on your table and compare the two documents. This is what tax lawyers might do. But this is the worst way to read the new tax codes,” Chidambaram said.
In response Mukherjee said “Chidambaramji is right. Legally speaking, the DTC is not an amendment to the existing Income Tax Act.”

Aditya Raj Das, New Delhi


Saheb, Biwi aur Ghulam

Hours before he quit the Rashtriya Janata Dal, former Union minister Taslimuddin slammed his mentor Lalu Prasad in no uncertain terms and accused him of running the party as his personal fiefdom and treating others like slaves.
“After the drubbing it got in the recent Lok Sabha polls, the RJD has been reduced to Saheb, Biwi aur Ghulam,” he quipped, in an oblique reference to Lalu and Rabri and their ‘bonded’ partymen.
But then, this is not the first time that Lalu has been charged with running the organisation as a private limited company. When his closest associate Shivanand Tiwary (now a JD-U MP) deserted him, he accused Lalu of having turned the RJD into Sasural (in-laws) party. ‘Sa’ stood for Sadhu Yadav and ‘Su’ for Subhash Yadav, the two brothers of Rabri. While Ra was an acronym for Rabri. No prizes for guessing that ‘L’ represented Lalu himself.

Abhay Kumar, Patna


Sangeeta ‘vidushaki’

Politicians have the habit of talking too much and on every subject. Whether they are aware of the subject or not, they do keep talking. At times politicians can invite trouble for usage of wrong words too.
It happened when well-known Hindustani music exponent Gangubai Hangal. In the legislative council, many members expressed their grief over the death of Gangubai Hangal. Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council was also one among them.
In his condolence message to a TV channel, he referred to Gangubai Hangal as a renowned ‘sangeetha vidushaki’. He mistook ‘vidushaki’ (a clown) for ‘vidushi’ (an exponent). However, he corrected the mistake in his next byte to an another channel.

Satish Shile, Bangalore

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