(This column was first published on Value Research Online.)
A more apt name for this government that we elected in last year’s LS elections would be govern-ban, wouldn’t it? It seems like banning things is the government’s favourite pastime. It began with banning regular movies and documentaries, then pornography, then Maggi, then beef. In between, the Gujarat government has also banned mobile internet services a couple of times. The central government recently also proposed banning deleting messages and emails before 90 days. They didn’t go through with that, but I’m sure like someone who can’t get rid of a bad habit, they will try to ban something new next week as well. And probably, even the week after that. And the week after that too.
Since the government likes to ban things so much, I thought I’d give them some banning ideas that would actually prove to be useful for its citizens:
Capital gains tax
I know that long-term capital gains from equity are tax-free. Then, why not apply the same to short–term gains from equity and all gains from other asset classes as well? We already pay income tax, which is why it seems unfair to me that we also have to pay taxes on what we earn by investing our savings. So, dear government, ban capital gains tax.
I’m sure all of us have cringed in disbelief at someone honking incessantly, as if the other people stuck in traffic are going to start setting up picnics in the middle of the road. No one likes being stuck in traffic, and things only get worse when someone keeps honking. Apart from the fact that honking increase stress levels, it exacerbates noise pollution as well. So, dear government, please ban horns for a peaceful environment.
The insurance industry might cry foul, but the fact of the matter is that ULIPs are more harmful than beneficial to an individual’s finances. They’re mis-sold rampantly because they turn in big commissions. An ordinary individual would do well enough by buying simple term insurance and investing in transparent avenues like mutual funds. But very few actually know enough to not get influenced by a ULIP distributor’s rhetoric. Hence, dear government, please step in and ban ULIPs.
We might have stopped noticing, but we still do live in a democratic country. We live in a country where the government’s job isn’t to decide what’s right or wrong for its citizens. In a developing country like ours, the government has a ton of important things to be concerned about instead of telling people what to do and what not to do. So, dear government, focus on what’s important and ban bans.