‘Income beyond a certain level should be taxed heavily’
India needs a prosperity line and not a poverty line, as 80 per cent of the population is classified as Below Poverty Line, said one of the National Convenors of the National Alliance for People’s Movements (NAPM) Medha Patkar here on Tuesday.
She said the NAPM was organising a National Jan Sansad or a National People’s Parliament in New Delhi, during which one of the key issues that would be discussed was a demand for an “ameeri rekha”. During an interaction programme organised by the School of Social Work Roshni Nilaya, Ms. Patkar said: “When 80 per cent of the population is below the poverty line, what purpose does it serve? The focus should be a line for richness. There should be a ceiling on wealth. Income beyond that level should be taxed heavily.”
Other demands were that people should earn enough to meet the cost of purchasing food. As such, daily wages should be raised to Rs. 350 in urban areas and Rs. 250 in rural areas, she said.
It was essential to reduce the inequality. “There has to be some limit to the disparity,” Ms. Patkar said. Commenting on industrialisation, she said that “concessions” to corporate companies were “absolutely unjustifiable” and led to “vulgar levels of profit” to a few.
She said that the Directive Principles of State Policy, which were “unfortunately not justiciable” should be the foundation of the development of the country. Article 243 of the Constitution – which aimed at decentralisation of the Government – should be implemented, Ms. Patkar said.
The first step was to ensure that “jal, jangal, jameen” (water, forests, and land) remained with the community. Then the community would decide how to tackle the needs of water, power, and housing. Communities would have to learn how to include the concerns of Dalits and women within this process, she said.