Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Necessary (?) Data

You have been warned - this is a rant. You try finding logic in it at your own peril.
The place where I work decided suddenly that it would like to be approved by a government agency. So far so good. It is a compilation job of enormous proportions – area (carpet area, to be precise), no. of rooms, no. of toilets (for men and women), areas for laboratories and on and on and on … These details are secondary to the goals of the institution, though I must admit, some of them are enablers.
But, my rant is about something else. At the outset let me tell you that I have paid my taxes as honestly as I have understood the laws. The details the institution is seeking – under duress it appears from the government agency – from its employees have nothing to do with its goals and most importantly it is of such personal nature (like how much income tax the employee has paid over the past five years) an employee may seek redressal for parting with such information. It also asks for the names of employee’s mother and father and notably, not that of his/her spouse! Bank account (which one, in which my salary is credited, I presume) including its IFSC! Also, AADHAAR number and PAN number, and the irony is the Indian Supreme Court is beginning court proceedings to decide the legality of AADHAAR. Timing? So perfect!
The problem is not with the information per se but the time pressure to put it up in the form. “You had to do it yesterday!” is the tone of the request! Some request.
Why would a government agency looking to certify an educational institution needs the income tax details of the institution’s employees, that too, over the past 5 years? Beats me. Can it at all come under the heading “Essential data”? I doubt it. I do suspect that the government agency has computing power and memory storage much in excess of what is legitimately required, and is filling up space by asking for unnecessary data, which would, if only people are conscious, will give them the creeps!
Anyway, I will be sitting in front of my computer this evening just giving what is asked, knowing full well that there is no justification for these details to be asked and no reason for not giving it when asked. Such is the condition of an Indian citizen.


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