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The enemy within
Itís not competition, but the Government, which kills industries

Ever heard of an industry which is not just the fastest growing, but also one of the fastest employment generators and yet is charged an incredible 50% plus as tax by the government? Well if you donít have a clue then just peep into the Indian Aviation Industry. A ticket from Kolkata to New Delhi booked two days before the journey from an LCC (Low Cost Carrier) on 3 September costs Rs 2974 and shockingly the actual fare which accrues to the airline company is a mere Rs1399 whereas the tax and surcharge that the government takes is an incredible Rs1575 or 53% to be precise. This, despite the fact that the industry, which for long was stifled by the monopoly of state-run carriers, has now got a fresh lease of life with the introduction of the LCCs. So much so that today not only can the common man afford to fly, but the fact of the matter is that in case of an emergency a train ticket may not be available but a plane ticket is just a click away.

The alternative to air travel in India is railways as road transport for distant travel is still a distant dream. So while the train would ferry you in poor conditions through a long and treacherous journey besieged with chances of life taking accidents, air travel, even though more convenient and at a fraction of time, is being penalised through higher taxes, perhaps for challenging the monopoly of the government in long distance journeys which for long were its cash cows.

Can any industry survive with a 53% tax burden? It is this destructive attitude of Indiaís successive governments, with their licence raj mindset, that has been responsible for the death of many a potential company and business. Hail the freedom we got from the British 60 years ago!

Pathikrit Payne

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