MLAs Ill-informed On Formalin
THE International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organisation, classifies formaldehyde/formalin as carcinogenic to humans. Despite this classification, BJP MLA Nilesh Cabral in a move to allay people’s fears has dared to state in the state legislative assembly that “there is no evidence that formalin causes cancer”. Earlier, it was Health Minister Vishwajit Rane, who had the humility to apologise for his gaffe that formalin found in the imported fish was “within permissible limits”, despite the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India guidelines banning the use of formalin as a preservative for food and scientists and experts stating that there is no such thing as permissible limit or inherent formalin in fish. Now that the state government has temporarily banned the import of fish to Goa and intends to put into place a mechanism to check for formalin-laced fish, our politicians should help eradicate the dangers to people’s health and lives brought about by the fish mafia, instead of making statements that only display their ignorance and belittle their authority.
A F NAZARETH, ALTO PORVORIM
Parliamentary Debate Fortifies Democracy
WE should be attracted to hear parliamentary debate to make our democracy more meaningful. The most sacred temple of democratic India ought to be our Parliament, and the most holy book should undoubtedly be our Constitution. Unfortunately, we tend to forget that democracy cannot survive without healthy parliamentary debate. Such debate and discussion are necessary not only to make the electorate politically conscious but also to make the Members of Parliament accountable to the voters. The debate on no-confidence motion in the Parliament has generated interest among the electorate. Such interest is a must for the vivacity of our democracy. This monsoon session of Parliament has brought a refreshing drizzle after days of drought in vox pop in our Parliament. But this drizzle could have been turned into a much needed rain for two consecutive days. It would be better if two days had been allotted instead of a single day for the debate on the no-confidence motion as there were instances of Parliament sitting on Saturdays.
SUJIT DE, KOLKATA
Simplify Income Tax Procedures
PRESENTLY the income tax department provides two types of numbers namely permanent account number (PAN) and tax deduction and collection account number (TAN). While PAN is to be obtained for every taxpayer, TAN is a special number required only by those responsible for tax deducted at source (TDS). Those required to obtain TAN number have to go through cumbersome procedure of filing TDS returns every quarter even though tax is deducted at source only say once in a complete year. The IT department should abolish requirement for having TAN number for tax deduction at source. PAN holders may file TDS returns on basis of their PAN numbers only in the quarter where tax is deducted at source. Filing of TDS returns on monthly basis can be implemented but only when tax is deducted at source in a particular month. Since TDS accounts for big proportion of total revenue, the IT department will benefit if TDS is deducted on monthly basis.
SUBHASH CHANDRA AGRAWAL, DELHI