Welcome a Barrier Free Neighbourhood

The much needed government reforms on taxes must get into implementation to elevate the lifestyle of its citizens, helping them to save more money which can be invested in more travel, cultural exchange and exposure in order to bring back loads of knowledge and wisdom which can be invested as the intellectual capital to foster the economic development of the country as the whole.
Dr. Trilok Kumar Jain
Published on: 20th June 2015
The recent move by the Prime Minister of India to establish a closer relation with neighboring countries and creating a barrier free system for travel of citizens between the neighboring countries must be appreciated. Over the last six decades, we have only tried to create barriers. These barriers have not helped us in any way. These barriers have not stopped terrorists, nor have these barriers checked the illegal immigrants. These barriers have only stopped people from interacting for good purpose. We need to understand that barriers only stop good people. Removal of barriers will enable people to learn from each other and to grow by understanding the perspectives of each other. People will learn from cultures, traditions and practices of each other. Travel, trade, education and cultural exchanges will increase and will help in the growth of people in the long run. 

A country is rich when its people are rich. A country is prosperous if its people are able to enjoy the luxuries of travels, possibilities of intellectual pursuits, opportunities of cultural diversities etc. Citizens will be able to learn, grow and enrich themselves, if they are able to immerse themselves in varied experiences through travel, cultural programs and intellectual occasions. All these require a barrier free open environment, which enable people to move, interact and engage in intellectually stimulating activities. Creation of a barrier free neighborhood is indeed a welcome move. However, do our own government departments and our own states understand its significance?
Barrier Free
Once, I was travelling with my students on an educational tour. Whenever we used to cross a state and enter another state we had to pay huge taxes. Ultimately we curtailed our travel plans and reduced our travel plans to only a few states. Are these taxes necessary for the survival of government or its existence? Are these taxes enough for the government to run its essential services? In fact, the governments are spending more money on administrative machinery which is kept for collection of these taxes. Isn’t it shameful on the part of government to restrict citizens from moving from one state to another, to levy duties on entry into another state, to demand reasons for movement of citizens from one state to another? Isn’t it shameful for government to impose inter-state taxes on movement of people, goods and services? Are we not stopping our own people’s development by asking them to confine them to a single state?

People develop when they interact with each other and learn from each other. Trade, commerce and business thrive when we have a barrier free economy. Business doesn’t need regulation from the government. Less regulation from government will encourage self-regulation on the part of business-houses, which will ultimately ensure quality. Higher regulation will cause higher costs and will ultimately create a corrupt bureaucracy, which will promote inferior quality. People in India have always fought against high taxes and high government levies. When Britishers imposed various taxes, Gandhi ji and other leaders raised the voice either in the form of “Salt Satyagrah” or in some other form. However, after independence, we are justifying increasing government taxes in the name of development expenditure. But who is asking for this so called “Development Expenditure”? Most of this development expenditure goes in maintaining unnecessary administrative expenditure of the government. Most of the taxes that are collected are also spent in paying the salaries of ‘inspectors’ who are appointed for this purpose. Why should we advocate a system, which ultimately creates higher costs and makes the economy uncompetitive? If the government really wants to help citizens, it should off-load its bureaucratic machinery, reduce taxes, reduce levies, reduce barriers, reduce restrictions, reduce its so-called development schemes and allow people to become competitive.  
Every time government charges some or other levy – say education cess, or higher education cess, people remain mum and don’t raise their voice. Slowly and slowly we are developing an in-competitive economic system. These levies and taxes will kill the creativity and functionality of business organisations. What happens to the money so collected through these cess, levies and taxes? Most of these are spent in administrative set-up. An honest citizen pays 30% of his income to the government in the form of direct tax. Of the remaining 70%, he further gives another 10% to the government in the form of indirect taxes (either service tax or sales tax). Of these 60% that he spends on himself, most of the expenditure is spent on those goods and services, which have become dearer due to government policies (for example land, building, housing, transport etc. have become costlier due to government policies). Thus he is actually forced to lead a very difficult life and finds that his increasing income is insufficient to enable him to save something and become a rich person. The government doesn’t want its citizens to become rich. How can he then enjoy the diversity of cultures, the rich traditions and the luxuries of travels?

Remove barriers to people
Enable them to develop
Let them learn from each other
Let them mingle with each other
Barriers only create barriers
Culture creates laughs
Smiles, laughs, dances and occasions
 People bring amazing traditions
Give them freedom to assemble
They will make you wonder
Let the citizens rejoice the freedom
Let the people display their traditions
Let there be oneness across borders
Let the spirit of fraternity break the barriers
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