Other aspects of the proposal are as mind-boggling. For instance, grazing on public land will cost Rs 12 per cow, buffalo, horse or donkey. For sheep and goats the same will cost Rs 6. Rickshaws, vans, carts, motorcycles, scooters and tractors will have to pay Re 1 for each trip down certain types of roads and bridges. For heavier vehicles, it’s Rs 2. Similar tariff is suggested for each river/ferry crossing for vehicles, people (sub-divided into age groups), goods and animals.
This prospective tax net is also meant to account for people maintaining their own septic tanks and using local garbage vats/dumps. People cleaning their own tanks will have to shell out Rs 250 to their respective panchayats. In urban areas, house/flat owners will have to pay a cess on top of their usual civic taxes and car owners, five year of taxes/duties in advance.
LF chairman Biman Bose, of the CPI(M), is self-critical but obliquely defends the new proposals. "There is no denying the fact that resource mobilisation should have received greater priority over the years," he told Outlook. Says cpi state secretary Manjukumar Majumdar: "A welfare state does not mean people will enjoy everything for free for all times. We should explain why more taxes are inevitable."