Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday called for a ‘tax-plus one’ approach for citizens to do more for the society besides honestly paying taxes. He said more people were paying taxes because they have faith that their money is being utilised.
“Paying tax is ‘prakriti’ (natural), not paying tax is ‘vikriti’ (deformity). But paying tax plus doing more is ‘sanskriti’ (culture),” he said in his address to IT professionals and tech honchos at a town hall. “I appreciate honest taxpayers whose numbers have increased. But the tax that is paid is part of the system. Social service is tax-plus something. We need to create that,” Modi said.
Modi praised industries and corporates for “exemplary social work alongside their business” while saying he does not believe in the culture of criticising them. “In our country, the general culture is to abuse businessmen, industrialists. I do not know why it is so but it has become a fashion. This is not a line of thought I agree with,” Modi said. He urged tech companies to contribute their expertise and manpower to bring social change. “We have seen today, in this townhall programme, how leading IT corporates are doing excellent social work, urging their employees to contribute to the society.”
Modi had in July said he was not scared to be seen with industrialists as his conscience was clear and that they had contributed to country’s development.
The Prime Minister said the future lied in technology, which should be used to develop solutions for issues facing the world’s fastest growing economy. He called electric vehicles an answer amid the recent spike in international oil prices.
At the town hall, IT companies like Tata Consultancy Services, Cognizant, Tech Mahindra and Mindtree showcased the social transformation efforts they have undertaken and pledged to support the newly launched ‘self4society’ initiative.
The self4society.mygov.in’ — named as ‘Main Nahi Hum’ – portal will act as a platform for companies to contribute their technology, skills and HR resources towards various social causes, including financial literacy, financial inclusion, small business enablement, and Swachh Bharat. Modi said volunteering efforts by the tech companies could bring about transformation in various sectors, including agriculture. He called on youngsters to venture out and work for the welfare of farmers.
Modi appealed to hard-working farmers to embrace drip irrigation. He called saving natural resources a collective responsibility. “We have become very careless when it comes to the consumption of water. We need to conserve water and recycle water too.” Modi called Mahatma Gandhi the inspiration for his clean India campaign. “We are fulfilling Bapu’s vision,” he said.
“On many occasions, what sarkar (government) cannot do, sanskar (culture) can do. Let us make cleanliness a part of our value systems,” he said.
He said governments may have schemes and budgets but the success of any initiative lies in public involvement. “I am sure people want to work for others, they want to serve society and bring a positive difference,” Modi said. Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra and Nasscom president Debjani Ghosh were among those who attended the town hall.