World of India!: EtcEtc : (Tax) deta hai ya Dhikhau ? e

World of India!

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EtcEtc : (Tax) deta hai ya Dhikhau ?

Patna's new Income Tax Collectors-"We Collect"

I had written a few days back about how majority of traders in India don't pay any taxes. The Patna Muncipal Corporation , it seems, shared my frustration with this and decided to do something about it.

The method they employed to make traders pay up log standing dues, though, is something that is not only unique but also one of those quirky ideas, only a true blue Indian (and a Bihari at that!) can come up with.

The Washington Post carried this Associated Press report:

PATNA, India -- One cash-strapped Indian city has launched a unique collection service to dislodge payment from tax deadbeats: Door-to-door eunuchs.

Eunuchs , a term used in India to describe transvestites, postoperative transsexuals and hermaphrodites , traditionally make a living on tips for dancing at weddings or for blessing newborns. They frequently refuse to leave until they are given money.

Patna, the capital of Bihar state in eastern India, hired scores of them Wednesday to compel shop owners to pay their back taxes.

"We are confident that their reputation and persuasive skills will come in handy for the municipal authorities to collect taxes from defaulters," said Bharat Sharma, a revenue officer.

Only 2,000 of nearly a half-million people have been paying property tax and water supply charges to Patna's municipal authorities, and tax collection is less than one-third of a projected tax base of $15 million, said Atul Prasad, the municipal administrator.

Dancing and singing to the beat of drums and wearing bright saris, the eunuchs met with success in their new role Wednesday. They collected about $9,000 in cash and checks from shop owners in the city, Sharma said.

The eunuchs get 4 percent of what they collect from defaulters, and will soon be asked to help collect outstanding taxes from homeowners, Prasad said.

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November 12, 2006 1:54 PM

I have written a published article on lateral thinking and I must say that this is the most unique example I have seen of "Thinking out of the box" as well as HRD-human resources development.    

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