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

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Face-to-Face Taxation in West Bengal

Set within the larger debate linking taxation with representation, the paper takes a close look at "face-to-face", i e, local government taxation in two districts of West Bengal and asks who pays and why, in situations when tax amounts are nominal. Drawing on statistical analysis, citizen survey and ethnographic research, the paper claims that while people's relative prosperity, not unexpectedly, has a positive effect on their tax contributions, even poorer social groups such as the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes may pay up, driven by a complex mix of motivations ranging from compulsion to contingent compliance. The paper concludes that as gram panchayats begin to rely more on local tax incomes, greater is the probability for a "fiscal contract" to emerge between local taxpayers and an accountable local government.

Leeches suck blood, bees suck honey, and calves suck their mothers milk, mildly and not causing any damages; the state should collect taxes in such a non-coercive manner; also it will be easier to collect taxes if the earned revenue is properly used to satisfy taxpayers needs and demands, and if citizens are properly nurtured.

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