Connect all Government Departments, both State and Central and bring them under a common software platform (ERP) and also standardize and bring uniformity to their method of working:
We already have the RTI Act, which enables us to get information regarding the working of Government agencies as well as Government servants, provided we seek out the Information from them. I Say why stop there, if all the Government Departments use a single ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning System), every citizen can be given “Read Only” Access to the Accounts, the Complete working of a Govt agency.
For Ex 1: ABC Ltd (Contractor) has been given the task of completing a Flyover near my house. Now all I, as a citizen has to do is to Log in to the Govt’s website and get details of how this Vendor was selected. Just by sitting in my house, i will be able to access the Govt Database(Through Read only access to ERP) so as to check whether the Vendor selection process was Fair and without any bias.We should be able to check the Priced Bids, Tenders, Techincal Bids of Contractors. In addition to be able to physically inspect the ongoing work (Which is every citizens right under the RTI and also to take samples of Materials for testing) one should also get information about Progress payments made to the Vendor/Contractor, any reasons for the delay in the project, access to the Engineers Reports, Inspection Reports etc. It should be each citizens Right to access each and every Voucher/Bill of public expenditure. The RTI Act should be further streamlined. Now under the present system, instead of applying to the information we need and waiting for 30 Days to get the Information, this system would ensure that the citizens get quality and timely information. Many a times, the information will have gone cold before any action can be initiated on it.
Ex 2: A certain Minister X, went for a foreign tour and spent Rs. 50 Crores of Taxpayers money for no good reason. Now a interested citizen will just have to go to the Govt website (A single website which connects/Covers all Govt Departments (Central/State, Ministries, etc) and check for all the travelling Bills, Travel Details and Travel Requisition/Statements of the Minister, the purpose for which the travel was undertaken ect and judge for himself whether it was justified. If not he should immediately be able to lodge a grievance in the Ministry website. This way, the Govt will be able to get immediate feedback and the public through the website/Newspapers/Media and if needed force the minister to resign immediately.
Ex 3: It will facilitate E-Governance: Suppose I pay Rs. 50,00,000/- as Income tax. I will naturally be interested to see how the Govt spends my money. This portal should be linked to the ERP so as to immediately update the Treasury Collections: ‘How much is collected and from whom?’ A taxpayer should be able to view the tax collections in real time and also be able to see where the Funds have been allotted. The names of the Projects undertaken by the Govt, its Status, Payments to Contractors, Guarantee period, any major repairs undertaken prior to that, the current state of the Project along with photographs should be updated.
All this can be made possible without any extra burden because govt departments are already overburdened with paperwork. Paperwork which no one ever bothers to see. But if the present manual system where to be linked to the online systems, it could work wonders.
The Govt expects much from the Taxpayers, Ex: Disclosure requirements for companies, Compliance with various laws, procedures, e-filing of various forms etc. It is only fitting that the Govt take measures to work with transparency in order to meet the goals of society.
Eliminate Cash Altogether:
Ban the use of Cash altogether in Cities/Towns that have access to Banks. Only Small denominations below Rs. 100/- should be allowed i.e Rs. 50/-, 20/-,10/- and Coins.
Make opening of Accounts in Banks very easy and hassle free. Also make all payments by Cheque itself. Banking norms should be strengthened. I feel that one individual should be permitted to open only 1 Bank Account in India. This will enable better control. Also he may be permitted to have 1 Account for purely business transactions and 1 for personal purposes.
Ex: If i go to the Grocer and my Bill becomes Rs. 60/-, make the payment by cheque itself. The Grocer can collect all cheques and send it for clearing during lunchtime/at the day end. This will also eliminate the need for change. Or else the grocer can also have swipe machines. Subsidise Swipe machines to encourage Banking.
We have all heard about Core Banking. It means that if i am a Customer of State Bank of India, Bangalore Branch, I am also a customer of all State Bank Branches, meaning i am permitted to make transactions through any Branch of State Bank.
This philosophy should further be extended to cover all Banks. For Ex: I receive a cheque from a Customer of Bank of India. My Banker is ICICI Bank. I should be able to deposit my Cheque even with State Bank of India and find that the funds have been credited to my ICICI Bank A/c. Statebank may charge a small commission from ICICI Bank. RBI Should make regulations to this effect.
Computerise Land Records and Building Records and Link it to PAN/Aadhar Card & Make Scrutiny Compulsory for Politicians.
How do Politicians hoard vast amounts of Money and Land? Simple, they keep it in the name of Benami persons, their relatives, sons, daughters, even chauffeur. All this can be stopped by completely computerising the records of each and every piece of Land held in India and linking its owner to the PAN/Aadhar Card. Next step would be to ask for the assets/liabilities of each and every politician who has stood for elections and the source of the Wealth. All persons of Interest related to the politicians should also be taken into consideration while making the scrutiny. A driver of a politician will not be able to purchase hectares of land with the remuneration he makes. Any wealth amassed outside the known source of Incomes should be caught and punished. The Law enforcement agencies and Courts have a major role to play in this. With one click of a button, law enforcement agencies (at an appropriate level) should know the Investment in Land/Building of any person.
Remove the Influence of Politicians over the Police and Tax Authorities:
Completely remove the power of Politicians to transfer and promote. The Police/CBI and Tax Authorities should have their own constitution/law that governs their behaviour, promotion and transfer. Also increase the strength of the Police force and Tax officials. As per the Latest information, the sanctioned strength of the Income tax dept is 59,682. This includes only 116 CCIT’s, 698 CIT’s, 1240 DCIT’s, 734 AC IT’s for over 4 Crore tax payers.
Include Additional Details in Cheque like the purpose for which the amount was received:
The Cheques should also contain details such as from whom the amount was received and the purpose for which the amount was received. Ex: Sales Receipts ect. The narration in the passbook should also reflect this.
Registration of All Properties should be based on Fair Market Value of the Property
The Registration of Properties is based on Guidance Value which is in almost all cases lower than the Fair Market Value of the Property. This leads to Loss of Stamp Duty and Registration Fees. Thus all the properties should be registered at Fair Market Value to avoid this loss. Periodic Audit should be conducted of the Sub-Registrars to avoid any registrations below FMV. This eliminates the question of “Black Portion” and “White Portion”. The transaction should happen at FMV.
Hawala & Swiss Banks:
Strict action has to be taken against hawala networks. The perpetrators should be treated at par with dacoits. Anyways, if Cash transactions are banned, the Hawala network will be rendered useless. Hawala is a system where if you need to transfer huge amounts of money to your swiss bank, you call a Broker – “Dalaal”, to whom you hand over a gunny bag of Cash and a corresponding amount of money in foreign currency gets deposited into your swiss account. Same goes for Cash withdrawal. Bilateral talks should be undertaken with the Swiss Authorities to bring back the money already stashed in various swiss banks. Any credit of money into NRO account or NRE Account from Tax havens must be investigated for the source. (NRE account is freely repatriable. Whereas NRO account is not). Transfer of Funds to foreign countries should be carefully monitored inspite of giving 15CA/15CB.
System of Cross Verification
A simple example would be a holder of a CC A/c who declares a higher stock for availing an increased CC limit for the month of March. But during the time of Final Audit, he declares a lower stock for Income tax purposes. Now what if there were a link between the Bank, IT Authorities and the VAT Department. Chances are it would promote better discipline. Also the Turnover declared with the VAT Authorities could be cross checked with those declared for Income tax and Service tax purpose. Debtors and Creditors could also be cross checked they make it mandatory to quote their PAN number.
Conserve Natural Resources
The main reason for prices getting out of control is the increase in fuel imports pushing the international prices of fuel upwards. This leads to an increase in the prices for all commodities including Milk and Onion. Conserve these natural resources like petrol, paper and electricity. The government should increase Bus/Train Connectivity, encourage the public to use Public transport. Travelling to work by Carpooling also decreases boredom and increases productivity.
Change must come from Inside
A great philosopher once said – “If every individual works towards achieving the Common goals of society honestly even for 1 day, then we would see a change overnight”. Our mentality should change drastically. Instead of saying –“Nothing is possible”, we should say “something is possible” and in the end say “everything is possible.”
The views expressed in this article are my personal views and I encourage everyone to Comment/Criticise/Advise/Suggest