The NSCN (I-M) with its staple mixture of half-truths and outrageous lies has once again tried to justify its extortion activities under the guise of “taxation”. The press release issued by the outfit is the usual half-coherent, rambling harangue; which includes cherry-picking dribs and drabs of Naga History and the Naga National Movement, without any basis or contextual reference; and their gospel according to the “Framework Agreement.”
Ripping to shreds their statements on the preceding issues would be child’s play but will serve no purpose, for the nonce. What the I-M and all Nagas who parrot the phrase, “One Government, one Tax” need to know the origin and purpose of Government Taxation. So, in the vein of the once-popular computer books for dummies, here is “Taxation for Dummies.”
The earliest tax records come from Sumerian Tablets dating to 3300 BCE. The purpose of taxation then, as of now, is to fund government activity. Government activity then consisted of giving people an umbrella of security and building basic infrastructure, maintaining the sovereign and other government officials and conducting wars to expand and enrich the nation.
Over the course of millennia, the scope of government activity has increased, forms of governance have changed, ways of enriching nations have multiplied and heads of taxation have increased.
But the premise behind taxation remains the same, “To ensure the security, prosperity and well being of citizens, to build up the infrastructure necessary to achieve the prosperity of the nation and to overcome the economic divide between different classes of citizens.”
When the NSCN (I-M) says opposition to its taxation amounts to the “enslavement” of the Nagas, do they mean Nagas have to pay the I-M for our “Freedom”? For India, under Section 10(26) of the IT Act, 1961, has freed not only Nagas but all tribals of the Northeast from paying taxes when residing in our lands, so, who are the I-M and who gave them the authority to tax Nagas?
Among many other things, a modern, democratic government builds roads, schools and hospitals; develops the agricultural, commercial, technological, industrial and scientific base of a society and launches welfare programmes to uplift the poorer sections of society.
India does all this and more. India has built roads, schools and hospitals for Nagas, India provides us free education and health care, India feeds our poor for free. India provides us subsidies and soft loans to develop our industrial base. India gives our villagers assured employment for 180 days a year. India gives our old people pensions. India launches hundred of schemes to better the lot of Nagas and India pays for our state government. All this India does by taxing the hardworking Indian citizens of the Indian mainland.
India can hardly be blamed if the hundreds of thousands of crores of rupees they have pumped into Nagaland have gone into the pockets of a few corrupt politicians and government officials, with who the top brass of the NSCN (I-M) are in cahoots with, at every level.
So, what is the purpose of the taxes that the I-M claims they have the right to collect from the Nagas? Have they done even one of the things that India has done for the Nagas? Is the purpose of their taxation so that their top brass can live in opulent luxury?
Is it so that Manipuri Nagas can buy lands in Nagaland? The NSCN (I-M) has no right or legitimacy to tax the Nagas in any form, they are only able to do so through menace. When money is taken from a citizen is not used to better society and when it is obtained through menace; it is not taxation, but extortion.
KAHUTO CHISHI SUMI
Akukau (G.B.) Hevishe Village, Khaghaboto Range, Dimapur