Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Indian Women should STOP paying Taxes if Govt Cannot Protect Us

I was browsing some information today and I came across a newspaper article about the Juvenile Rapist in the Nirbhaya Gang Rape case in Delhi. That rapist was given a term of 27 months in Sep 2013 and that means, he would be walking free in Dec 2015 -- Another 6 months to go.

Was this an isolated case in the country ? NO, IT WAS NOT !! This raised an extremely disturbing thought in my mind. I do not feel safe for myself, any women in my family, any women in my friends group or the random girl who is crossing the road as I am watching outside the window right now.

How many girls are raped every month in this country ?? I do not even feel that I have to give any statistics about this. Show me one week of newspaper articles when some or the other rape incident has not been reported. Statistically, this is just 20% of the actual cases that happen in this country.

And to add to this, only 24% of the total rape accused get convicted. So when I understand the statistics here, the probability that a rapist will walk free is a staggering 95.2% because either he will not be reported or even if he is reported, he will not be convicted. Even if in the best case scenario, the accused is convicted, he or his parents will produce a juvenile certificate. This seems to be the fashion these days. The rapist walks free in 2 years even if the rape was as brutal as in the Delhi Gang Rape case which led to the victim's death. Is this the worth of a women's life in this country ?

Why is the govt not taking any decisive steps for such a prevalent crime in this country ? Well, the answer is quite logical -- It costs them less money to react to the crime and put the victim through the circus of the stupid legal system. As compared to this, if the government has to proactively invest on preventive measures, it will cost a LOT more money !! Eventually, it is all about money.

The most shocking proof of this attitude in the government was the following decision on Feb 24, 2015 where Maneka Gandhi had proposed for getting 660 "Rape Crisis Centre" in India and the government approved just 36 of these -- one in each state capital and each Union Territory. Look at the news article below which was published in The Telegraph.

These guys do not want to help the victims because it costs them money !! This is not why, as a citizen of this country, we pay taxes. The total budget to build all these centres would have costed 244.48 crores but the approval was done for 18 crores only. This proves that the only reason why the govt would not help the rape victims is because it causes them money !!

So, at this stage I am convinced that unless the cost of not opening the rape crisis centre is much larger than the cost of opening, the government would never really prioritise the safety of the women in this country. What if all the tax paying INDIAN WOMEN STOP PAYING INCOME TAXES starting this year. Obviously, the government is not interested in helping the women of this country. Why not make it hurt their pockets ??

Little bit of statistics on how strongly this message would get conveyed. Approximate total revenue coming from Income taxes in 5 years (2010-2015) was around Rs. 30331 Billion. This makes it around Rs 6066 Billion per year. Even if pessimistically speaking, women were contributing just 5% of this total tax revenue, which obviously is a huge underestimate, the government would have to suffer a LOSS of over 300 Billion Indian Rupees. This would be around 122.7 times the cost which government was not ready to pay for the victims. If they understand money, let us talk in the terms of money. 


  1. Interesting post, Kirtida.

    While it is imperative that the government protects its citizens from external danger as well as harm from other citizens of its own before thinking of any other welfare measures, I think it is slightly far-fetched to say that if women would stop paying taxes it would lead to a change in circumstances. It would certainly mean some loss of revenue but it might not play out definitely to women's advantage. That revenue loss will be compensated for by cutting down expenditure in some other sphere (which I am inclined to say would be from a social scheme). What if that is from the institutional mechanism to implement Right to Education or the Intergrated Child Development Scheme or measures that increase transparency and accountability in governance, just to cite a few examples?

    Taxes support many civil facilities we enjoy (of course, the availability and access to those facilities can be debated) and to not have those would not be good for all of us - women, children and men alike. Say something like street lights, parks, availability of free or minimal fee medical care, which are arguably a part of the State's rather than Centre's expenditure but women's safety is a State responsibility as well or may be even more than that of the Centre - these are things we all consume on an everyday basis and tend to take for granted, if not for ourselves then for those somewhat less favourably endowed financially (free health care, I mean).

    Further, even if women are not paying income taxes, they are still implicit in paying other taxes like the Sales Tax, Entertainment Tax, Service Tax, VAT and a host of other indirect taxes. These amount to a lot as well. How do we segregate that?

    All of this said, I understand where your anger is coming from and it is not misplaced. It is important to have a dedicated avenue for redressal of women's grievances, particularly rape, sexual harrassment, dowry harrassment, domestic violence. The government's suggestion that to have one Rape Crisis Centre in every State or UT than in every district is enough, is just plain silly. But, to start with, women's groups could focus on demanding accountability, transparency and efficiency from that one centre in every State/UT. That might help develop a model centre which could be replicated at grassroots or intermediary levels. India's national child helpline CHILDLINE 1098 was developed like this. It started as a non-government intervention and went on to become a large-scale initiative with government, NGOs, academic institutions, private sector all working to together to rescue children from hazardous and dangerous circumstances. In a nutshell, the focus should be on getting things right on a small scale and then scale it up.

    Well done for bringing up this issue because it is indeed time that the government takes stock of its stance on women's safety!

    1. Hi Aditi,

      Thanks a lot for your detailed analysis of the situation. You definitely have an understanding of the situation. Yes, you are right. The situation does need more holistic approach and fixing one problem without paying attention to others will make the situation worse and not better. Here, my only humble attempt is to raise that voice. We all are angry. We all want to be treated better, and I believe, if the voice is loud enough, they will be forced to hear it out. Stay in touch. It is nice to have your opinion :)