In November 2020, our Prime Minister Narendra Modi had claimed that India has transformed from a nation with tax terrorism to that of tax transparency-“Tax terrorism was a common refrain during past governments. Earlier, people used to complain about tax terrorism. We have left that behind and moved towards tax transparency”. But the way India’s economic gap between the rich and the poor, the preferred and the neglected, has widened, seems to deny this claim.
When the people we’ve elected ourselves violate what our constitution aims for and are having their taxes misused, we have to ask- who speaks for the taxpayers? Instead of spending it on improving public facilities and the nation’s development, they misappropriate the funds for other things; whom do we take our complaints to?
There are many instances in which our taxes have been misused and which may not necessarily for the benefit of the people themselves:
Common Wealth Games Tax Scam
The 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Scam has bruised India’s reputation as a nation on the global front and was marked with an interplay of corruption, conspiracy, and cheating. The CWG Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi was the primary accused, arrested for fraud and misuse of the funds allotted for the event. Over 70,000 crore rupees were set aside for the event, but not even half the amount was put to actual use.
One of the most embarrassing conspiracy stunts pulled off was depriving the athletes of good apartments instead of allotted shabby ones. CVC reported that Suresh offered the company Swiss Timing a contract of 141 crore rupees to procure its time-limiting equipment, which was 91 crore rupees more than what was required. This whole scam has permanently tarnished the nation’s reputation in front of the world.
Coalgate Scam, or the Coal Scam of 2012, is an infamous political scandal in which the government was accused of allocating 155 coal blocks illegally between the years 2004-2009 to commercial companies. The stunt was pulled off by political leaders and bureaucrats and misappropriated approximately 1.86 lakh crore of the funds.
The Fodder Scam of 1996 was a corruption scandal pulled off by the Animal Husbandry Department who misappropriated 9.4 billion rupees from the Bihar government treasury. These funds were provided for the purchase of fodder, animal farming equipment, and medicines. Bihar’s chief minister at that time was Lalu Prasad Yadav, who, along with the former Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra, were the main accused in the case. This political scandal was pulled off by producing fake bills as proof of payments that were never made.
Shivaji Statue Construction
The opposition parties- the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have accused the Maharashtra State government of fending off an extra 1,000 crore rupees from the funds assigned for the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj statue project. The government had set the base cost of the whole project as 2,692.50 crore rupees, but the contract between the government and L&T company stated 3,826 crore rupees, which shows inflation of over 1000 crore rupees.
Edited by Tanish Sachdev
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