The issue is indirect taxation.
In India, we have become so used to indirect taxation that we have lost sight of the fact that each and every Indian is a tax payer. No one is beyond the scope of the tax collector. It is just that we don't know it. Even the poorest of the poor, who buys a bar of soap or any manufactured goods is paying a lot of indirect taxes without realizing it. And since we do not realize that we are paying taxes, we do not expect anything in return. Perhaps that is what the system desires.
On one of the post 26/11 TV debates, actress Simi Garewal heatedly put forward the suggestion that taxpayers should stop paying taxes to a government that can not provide security. By taxpayers she perhaps meant those who pay income-tax. But then she does not know that in reality the bulk of the Government coffers are filled through indirect taxation. Direct tax payers constitute a very small part of the Government's income. It is the various excises and duties and surcharges and service taxes and VAT and this and that which account for the revenue.
Every February end, we see the spectacle of our Finance Minister juggling the various excises and duties on consumables, increasing it on some and providing relief on others, but basically succeeding in increasing the governments revenue by increasing indirect taxes.
Indirect taxation is immoral in the sense that it does away with the idea of accountability of the Government to the taxpayers. As well as creating apathy amongst them who are just reduced to being voters to be approached only at election time. In the mean time they watch uninterestedly while the Government squanders away their hard earned billions on Loan-Melas and other unproductive expenses.
Indirect taxation should be reduced till it approaches zero and direct taxation should be encouraged. The counter argument is that no-one likes to pay direct taxes and this is true to an extent. No one wants to part with his hard earned money right before his own eyes. And if this happens, then one would want to find out exactly how it is going to be spent and whether one is getting value for it. That would usher in an era of a more pro-active and a more responsible and a more awakened citizenry, demanding better governance. Perhaps that would lead India to a better future.