ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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ZAIRE-Arranging a Transition

all sides. Given the consensus it seemed to command, piloting the finance bill through parliament was no problem. Indeed it was smooth sailing for the finance minister all the way, except for a brief moment. That was when the shadow of Sarvesh Chander, the retrenched factory worker who immolated himself in the capital on May Day, fell across the floor of the Lok Sabha during an otherwise listless debate. Suicides by destitutes and unemployed heads of families unable to iced their children rarely figure in our legislative discourses. But in this instance it did, reported as it had been on the front pages of newspapers at just about the time the finance bill was to be taken up for consideration by the Lok Sabha. George Fernandes raised the question of the ethics of giving hefty tax benefits to the rich with a pointed reference to the plight of workers like Sarvesh under the new economic dispensation. For once the finance minister was put on the defensive and came out with a laboured elaboration of his tax strategy.

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