Black is India

Black is India

Hard cold cash is firmly embedded in India`s psyche and ethos, this is rather hard to turn around. I for one who have lived about twenty years of my life overseas, and largely in the developed world, to this day prefer cash to plastic.

 One justification being why pay unnecessary high bank fees for multiple use of credit / debit card, even for low value purchases, like a cup of coffee.

 In the late 90`s, I decided I needed my own car in Los Angeles, as I was fed up driving different rentals every time I was in LA. Issue was I did not know which car I wanted to buy, but was firm in my mind that I wanted a new set of wheels that very weekend. So on a Saturday morning I withdrew US$ 20,000 from BoFA, and set off to buy my car. I settled on a Honda Accord V6, 3 Liter, shiny black. I recall the horrified look on the car dealers face when I pulled out US 20K from my jacket pocket to pay for the car. The car costs US $26,500 the dealer said, yes I know, I will pay the balance on my Amex. I don’t think the Honda dealership had ever come across this situation before, to me it was perfectly normal.

 In India God is revered, and the love of God is often shown by donating large quantities of cash, pure 24 karat gold and precious jewelry to appease the god, and win favors. Religion, and faith generally = big money in India. Those who don’t have big money to win over the gods can take the ceremonial dip in Ganges to cleanse their souls, and continue doing what they`re doing.

 The business of ethereal donation in India, across all faiths is considered an acceptable practice and has the sanctity of the Govt who accord all religious institutions, religious and spiritual ashrams etc the hallowed tax free status.

 So where does this leave mere mortals like you and me..

One way to kill black money totally would be to remove all taxes, and impose standard tax on all citizens of India, based on where they live, the cars they drive, and the amount of electricity they consume, something like the Duckworth Lewis formula in Cricket.

 Second would be to impose standard tax on all religious institutions, Temples, Mosques, Gurdwaras, Church`s etc. If a stranger presents me money, I have to pay tax, so why not the same rule for religious institutions, who more often than not don’t need the donations anyway, which is often used for splurging on wine, woman and song, and throw in gold and precious jewelry.

 Or how else are we going to turn our psyche around, which is so firmly embedded in hard cold cash. It`s perfectly normal to have tainted politicians and bureaucrats, that being the case the tainted businessman are considered a natural extension.

 Like George W Bush, had his pack of cards, I guess here too similar strikes are required at the top political, bureaucratic and business echelon, and not strike at the roots of 99% of the populace or the have not`s, as by definition, they have not period.

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