Thursday, August 11, 2022

Challenge to taxation virus

Forcible collection of money under the pretext of taxation is not only a serious threat on social peace and harmony but can also destroy the future generations since it seeks to establish and legitimise the criminal offence to passive resistance from the public. In states like Nagaland, Manipur and perhaps Arunachal Pradesh, illegal and unauthorised taxation by political groups poses seemingly insurmountable challenges on the law and order machinery. Other states in the north east also face similar situations but states which have made no compromises in tackling this so-called cottage industry with a firm hand to ensure a just, peaceful and free society. In the context of Nagaland, collections by political groups has been justified on the ground of being in pursuit of people’s national goal. However, in Dimapur tax collections since the past decades became a popular mode for easy money and also a source of livelihood. Naga public had enough and voiced out their resentment through public resolutions in 2012 and subsequent years, that they will not pay ‘multiple tax’ to over half a dozen groups or governments, but will only pay one tax to one government. Though Dimapur is known as the commercial capital, it is also the home of many organisations, groups and unions and also the collection capital of Nagaland. The public in Chümoukedima, even before it was carved out as a district from Dimapur, had resolved to prevent the virus of tax collection from infecting and spreading in the area. They have succeeded in significant ways. Recently after becoming a district, apex CSOs of Chümoukedima district have reaffirmed their stand against all forms of collection of money under the guise of ‘tax’ from business firms or traders by persons claiming to represent various groups, agencies, unions or associations . One of the CSOs – Chümoukedima Town Chamber of Commerce and Trade Association(CTCCTA) – was forthright in making its stand clear that it was totally against such unauthorised and illegal collections, which have become a source of livelihood. CTCCTA informed that its stand was in pursuance of the general public resolution undertaken at the town hall at Weekly Saturday Market on February 14,2014. CTCCTA has warned that any business establishments or shops within Chümoukedima town paying such illegal taxes would have their business and trade licence cancelled and proprietors excommunicated from the town. Later another CSO- Naga Tribal Union Chümoukedima Town(NTUCT) also made its stand clear on the issue of unauthorised and illegal collection of money within the district by various Naga political groups or organisations. NTUCT also cited resolutions against multiple tax collection by all and sundry by the Naga public on November 19,2017. NTUCT also said it has been witnessing mushrooming of societies and organisations, either “constitutional or extra-constitutional” with the sole intention(s) of tax collection. NTUCT declared that groups, associations, unions preying on business for illegal collections was a threat on social peace and harmony. NTUCT has particularly, urged upon the district authorities to ban such groups, associations and unions from undertaking any form of illegal collection within Chümoukedima . Having declared their stands against illegal taxations, the apex organisations will be expected to walk the talk to ensure that the district administration and police perform their constitutional obligations to people and not their political masters if peace and economic progress is to transform the new district as the new capital of trade and commerce.

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