Samudra Gupta Kashyap
Two weeks after more than a dozen civil society groups and trade bodies in Nagaland formed a joint platform and asked underground rebel outfits to stop collecting tax from the people,the NSCN(IM) has not only negated such a demand but has come out with a set of rules so that all pay for the national cause.
The NSCN(IM) has in fact issued a 17-point Rules and guidelines for protection of the general public against illegal tax,2013 with the first point saying,Every Naga and others residing in Nagalim shall pay tax to the Nation for the national cause.
The state government however said it cannot let anybody impose illegal taxes on the people. However it is for the Centre to do something because the NSCN(IM) is talking directly to the Centre, state Home Minister G Kaito said in Kohima.
The outfit,which was once described by security agencies as mother of all insurgency,also announced a ban on all forms of taxation on the same items/goods amounting to double tax on the general public,and warned of stringent measures against those who violated these rules.
What is more interesting is that the NSCN(IM),which has its own Government of the Peoples Republic of Nagalim GPRN has not only announced exemption of annual taxes of newly established local shops and enterprises for the first one year,but also exempted tax on Naga entrepreneurs setting up factory units within Nagalim for the first three years.
Other inventories required for the project including import and export of raw materials shall be relaxed for the same period, it said.
Keeping in mind the recent public outcry against different groups imposing different rates of tax on various items,the NSCN(IM) also issued a ban on collection of illegal tax on all local goods and products including agro products,indigenous livestock etc. No organisation would collect illegal tax from local vendors,butcher house,weekly bazaars,it said,indirectly indicating at its rival factions.
No illegal groups would collect any tax,it said,warning such groups against engaging anti-social elements to collect tax on their behalf. The 17-point note also banned collection of donation even by civil society groups.
Calling upon all to adhere to the rules,the NSCN(IM) also exempted annual tax on new vehicles for the first year,while tax on second-hand vehicles purchased from auction has been done away altogether.
Meanwhile,the rival NSCN(K) on Saturday described the NSCN(IM) as mother of all taxation and accused the business community of utilising underground elements as dadas to protect their interests. The Khaplang faction also hit out at the elected government of the state and said those in the government,right from the minister down to the peon,siphon off more than 40 per cent of the development funds available to the state.
The state government however has said it wont allow any group to collect illegal tax from the people. We understand that the NSCN(IM) requires funds to sustain while they are negotiating with the Centre. But for that they cannot impose such taxes on the common people. We are taking up the matter with the Government of India so that they are given some sustainence allowance in their designated camps, G Kaito said.