New Year musings
The New Year and beyond beckons us to an emancipated future. Our democratic traditions need to be nurtured for inner strength. We must confront the shortcomings that have crept into our systems and ensure that democratic institutions are no longer manipulated by the entrenched political class.
Rapid growth has led to development gains, but the lack of inclusiveness has resulted in income disparity. At a time when Chinese power grows unabated, we must enhance our national capacities through affiliations. Defence cooperation buttressed with purposeful diplomacy is the mantra.
As per media reports, the CBDT has formed a task force to overhaul the Income Tax Department based on a seven-point agenda which includes restructuring the department and rationalising national and regional e-assessment centres. While it has been asked to submit its recommendations by March 31, 2022, one of the major areas of concern is the operational hiccups currently encountered by taxpayers in respect of the faceless regime introduced last year.
One wonders as to what prevents the CBDT from making the extant complex tax regime easy to understand and follow? Moreover, the proposed overhauling must also ensure the universal applicability of the taxation laws without any exceptions whatsoever.
Pay differential in banks
This refers to ‘Public sector bank CEOs earn three times their staff’ (December 30). Even allowing for the risk elements, their outcomes and time horizons the gap between the pay of CEOs of big private sector banks and that of the other employees is far too high. In a knowledge-based and technology-savvy sector like banks, the skill gap does not justify such a huge dififernce in pay. The fact that the pay gap is narrower in foreign banks speaks of their recognition for talent at lower levels and rewarding them.
On the other hand, the narrow pay gap in public sector banks reveals the power of entrenched trade unions and powerlessness of the CEOs.
This refers to ‘Doctors, nurses deserve respect, compassion’ (December 30). India’s healthcare system is under-staffed at all levels, ill-equipped, and the staff are underpaid. This calls for timely counselling for medical professionals. Unlike those in the armed forces or professionals in industries, those in the medical profession get much lesser opportunities for spending time in training and counselling sessions.
The pandemic has brought to surface several challenges faced by frontline workers, which hitherto went unnoticed.
Health workers ignored
There is little doubt that the government has treated health workers shabbily, by refusing to accept their legitimate demands. The pandemic has taken a heavy toll of us all, but the frontline health workers like doctors and nurses have been hit hardest.
With the Omicron threat looming large, the government has blundered in not having discussions with the striking doctors. If the problems facing doctors are not resolved soon, they are likely to result in disastrous consequences for the citizens of the nation.
Third wave worries
The minor surge in Covid-19 positive cases in certain parts of the country in recent weeks has now raised the spectre of a third wave engulfing us sooner than later. An Omicron-driven wave is sweeping the US and Europe with daily Covid cases rising to unprecedented numbers and threatens to overwhelm their healthcare system.
Meticulous adherence to Covid health protocols and increased pace of vaccination will go a long way in keeping the Omicron variant from running riot on the ground.