NEW DELHI: In order to increase tax compliance in the country, the Economic Survey has suggested initiatives to honour honest taxpayers. It has also said that given the importance of religion in the Indian culture, the principles of behavioural economics need to be combined with “spiritual or religious norm” to reduce tax evasion and willful default in India.
Giving logic to this, the survey said that as people often indulge in conspicuous consumption to convey their social status, the top 10 highest taxpayers within a district can be highlighted and accorded due recognition.
Talking about the ways to accord due recognition the survey said, “This may take the form of expedited boarding privileges at airports, fast-lane privileges on roads and toll booths, special ‘diplomatic’ type lanes at immigration counters, etc.”
Further, the highest taxpayers over a decade could be recognised by naming important buildings, monuments, roads, trains, initiatives, schools and universities, hospitals and airports in their name. “The idea is to create exclusive membership of “clubs” that exude not only social status but also honour. Such steps can also help propagate the social norm that “paying taxes honestly is honourable,” said the survey.
The survey also talked about ‘doctrine of pious obligation’ saying every religion whether it is Hindu or Islam paying debt has been considered as pious. In Hinduism, non-payment of debts is a sin and also a crime. Similarly, Islam says that a person cannot enter paradise until his debt was paid off. All of his wealth could be used to pay the debt and if it is insufficient then one or more heirs of the deceased could voluntarily pay for him, mentioned the survey.
What the survey suggests
Privileges at the immigration counter, express boarding at airports, and even naming of roads, buildings and schools for top taxpayers
The highest taxpayers over a decade could be recognised by naming important buildings, monuments, roads, trains, initiatives, schools and universities, hospitals and airports after them, survey said
Creation of “exclusive membership of ‘clubs’ that exude not only social status but also honour”