Anarcho-environmentalism allegorised

The name Anaarkali in the present context has many meanings - Anaar symbolises the anarchism of the Bhils and kali which means flower bud in Hindi stands for their traditional environmentalism. Anaar in Hindi can also mean the fruit pomegranate which is said to be a panacea for many ills as in the Hindi idiom - "Ek anar sou bimar - One pomegranate for a hundred ill people"! - which describes a situation in which there is only one remedy available for giving to a hundred ill people and so the problem is who to give it to. Thus this name indicates that anarcho-environmentalism is the only cure for the many diseases of modern development! Similarly kali can also imply a budding anarcho-environmentalist movement. Finally according to a legend that is considered to be apocryphal by historians Anarkali was the lover of Prince Salim who was later to become the Mughal emperor Jehangir. Emperor Akbar did not approve of this romance of his son and ordered Anarkali to be bricked in alive into a wall in Lahore in Pakistan but she escaped. Allegorically this means that anarcho-environmentalists can succeed in bringing about the escape of humankind from the self-destructive love of modern development that it is enamoured of at the moment and they will do this by simultaneously supporting women's struggles for their rights.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Who Will Cut Indian Red Tape!!

The bureaucracy in India continually comes in for flak for being insensitive and rule bound to the point of idiocy. Well here is another example of their idiocy.
My wife Subhadra Khaperde got a notice one not so fine morning from the Income Tax Department Central Processing Centre at Bangalore that the self assessment return that she had filed for the Assessment Year 2009-10 of nil tax was wrong and that she would have to pay a tax of Rs 2790. This re-assessment was done on the basis that Subhadra was a MALE and not a FEMALE and so not eligible for the higher income deduction limit admissible for females for that year. When she filed a rectification request saying that she was a FEMALE and not a MALE she got a letter from the Assistant Income Tax Commissioner rejecting her request because her gender was written as MALE in the PAN database!!
Subhadra then filed an application to NSDL for rectifying her gender in the PAN database and this was acknowledged and a new PAN card was issued. She thought that things would now sort themselves out. However, she was mistaken because the next year for Assessment Year 2010-11 she once again got a notice from the Income Tax department in Bangalore saying that she would have to pay Rs 2230 as tax as she was a MALE according to the PAN database. No amount of letter writing would satisfy the Income Tax Commissioner that this was gross injustice on their part. So she once again applied for changing her gender in the PAN database to FEMALE and once again got an acknowledgement and a new PAN card. But lo and behold once again the next year for Assessment Year 2011-12 she got a notice to pay tax of Rs 2530 as she was still a MALE according to the PAN database!!! Now Subhadra has received another notice that the original tax demand for Assessment Year 2009-10 is still pending and so she must pay that or face penal action. This when Subhadra could easily not have filed an Income Tax Return because her income is less than the mandatory limit above which returns have to be filed. She files the returns because frequently there are allegations by the State against her that she is in possession of illegal funds with which she undertakes anti-social activities!!!
One is left wondering what kind of people are the staff in the Income Tax Department. Two of the four Assistant Income Tax Commissioners under whose signature these notices have been sent are women. Yet they cannot see that the name and photo are both of a woman and this is a farcical mistake being made by the Income Tax Department. The department makes the mistake and then expects Subhadra to pay the tax. This is bureaucratic obtuseness of the crassest kind. Subhadra has now sent the Income Tax Department a reply saying that they had better stop this black comedy or she would have no other option but to approach the National Women's Commission against this blatant gender harassment by the Income Tax Department.
This might seem like a small issue but it is symptomatic of the insensitivity and stupidity of the bureaucracy in this country where even senior bureaucrats whom you would expect to be more sensitive also act like patriarchal idiots. 


Sadanand Patwardhan said...

Terrific story!!
Bureaucracy is not only hide bound; but is or pretends to be blind as well just like the proverbial न्याय देवता. It cannot see, read or hear. The crowning glory of the story is that your wife second time had to apply to NSDL for gender change from Female to Female. Gloriously, they accepted this 'strange' request and even complied with it. Unfortunately, कम्पूटर देवो भवः (interface between NSDL and CPC)is not agreeing.

BTW, I had attended a lecture by retired SC justice Shirgupakar, who is currently chairman of Competition Appellate Tribunal. When I asked him, he said under competition act, even government department (though monopoly without competition) is an enterprise and grievance of deficiency in service against it can be preferred to CCI. Good part of applying to CCI is, if above is correct, that there are heavy penalties under the act for procedural delays and continued deficiency unlike under other mechanisms.

Though I imagine work involved in such course will be a lot as this is an untested area and even lawyers are not too familiar with the terrain.

cheers/ sadanand

Anonymous said...

While the suffering to the taxpayer is totally avoidable and the repeated mistakes despite fresh issue of PAN Cards is must be appreciated that, CPC is still has its teething troubles...the signatures by the Asst.Commissioners are "generated" and they are not signed in person...anyways, coming to the solution part of it...the jurisdictional Assessing Officer should be contacted, to rectify the faulty demand, and upload the same to may quote section 154 of the Income tax Act and narrate the problem....which should be easily resolved at his level.

Rahul Banerjee said...

Subhadra has been regularly filing revision requests under section 154 of IT Act. These requests have now to be filed electronically online ever since the e-filing of returns began from AY 2010-11. Subsequent to the order for payment for AY 2009-10 Subhadra has received recently an order stating that the rectification has been done for AY 2010-11 and AY 2011-12. However the order for 2009-10 which when the return was done manually and not through e-filing is still there. Anyway since the PAN database has now finally recorded Subhadra as a female there should not be much problem as with time the impugned order will also be rectified!!! We were not really worried because at the end of the day Subhadra is a female and that cannot be falsified by incorrect PAN database. But I thought that I would highlight this whole episode to show how intractable the bureaucracy is. Ever since she has been filing the IT returns the State now does not shout itself hoarse that she is in possession of illegal funds and that is the only advantage of going through this rigmarole.

Anonymous said...

I am unfortunately a victim of the same situation. Since 2011-12, CPC generates higher tax as per MALE, whereas I file it as FEMALE ! PAN is corrected, but CPC is not listening to rectify it. They say NSDL should do it and NSDL says CPC should do it. I am playing this ping-pong game since last 2 years ! Finally I met the Assessing officer of my ward, he also says that they cant change this data as it is not activated in their system, and they feel that they are not authorised. Now dont know what else to do, but to keep requesting NSDL to do something. Any soution please advise me.

Rahul Banerjee said...

Dear Madam,
You have to get the NSDL to change the gender and the only way to do it is to apply for a correction in the PAN database through a PAN facilitation centre of NSDL near your residence/office. You will get the location on the TIN-NSDL website. Once that is done you have to apply for rectification. Even though the gender was not corrected in the first application that we made it was corrected the second time and now the situation has been rectified.