I don’t know how effective VAT (Value Added Tax) collection has been. Lately, there has been news that big corporate houses have been misusing VAT regulations and evading VAT to enrich themselves at the cost of the national treasury. We, the common citizens, don’t know how the VAT collected has been used. If it had been used properly, probably we would have seen positive repercussions on the economy.
Our economy would have achieved better growth, and economic indicators would have been more positive. Whether or not VAT is effective, what you can be sure of is that your VAR (Value Added Resolutions) will be effective. Value Added Resolutions are simple yet important resolutions that can be made by you, me, and all common citizens, and of course, government officials, since implementation by them will go a long way towards making our society better.
I got stuck in a traffic jam one Thursday and was late for office. At New Baneshwor, there was a big excavator destroying the buildings alongside the road. This was in the morning, around 9 am, a regular rush hour, and the excavator was blocking traffic. Couldn’t the work have been done at other times when the traffic was lesser? Why did they have to work at peak hour, and that too with such a monstrous excavator?
Similarly, I sometimes get stuck in traffic jams because of garbage trucks that move as if they have all the time in the world, taking a long time to pick up the garbage. And that is just in New Baneshwor, I am sure the same happens in other areas. It is very inconvenient for commuters going to office, schools, college and other destinations when they get locked in traffic jam at office hours.
The Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Department of Road, Utility Repair Services and other concerned authorities should plan to change the timings of their work and make traffic flow smoother. We cannot have more chaos in the already chaotic Kathmandu city, where the cables of electricity, television channels, and telecommunication are dangling above the streets entangled like snakes and garlands.
Traffic congestion could also be minimized if everybody stayed in line and waited patiently for their turns. But many drivers change lanes frequently, and often forcibly enter wrong lanes, causing traffic to come to a standstill because there is literally no way to move ahead.
If we all made Value Added Resolutions, it would help a lot to solve these problems. In case of garbage collection, building destruction and road construction, Kathmandu Metropolitan City and other involved authorities should work before 8 am in the morning, when traffic is light. They can also work in full swing at building destruction and road construction during holidays.
Vehicle users should exercise courtesy and have patience, and vow to travel only in their respective lanes. They should never enter a wrong lane to overtake another vehicle, even when they are in a hurry. Motorcycle drivers should never use the footpath to escape traffic jams. They should understand that footpaths are for people to walk. We, the pedestrians, should inform concerned authorities of road congestion problems, and co-operate with them to resolve the problems.
Of course, we as responsible citizens should not throw litter on the streets, we should throw it only in garbage boxes. The garbage trucks might come at odd hours, but they do make it a point to take the garbage away. We owe many thanks to them!
Our agenda should be to make Kathmandu better, and it can only be done if we are unselfish and work for the common interest.
We should encourage car pooling, more so for people driving to work. More people should share the same vehicle, especially when they have common destinations. Car pooling not only reduces vehicle congestion but also helps reduce pollution. Public vehicles are already overburdened with vehicle pooling (or you may call it pushing and pulling, as people may be hanging out of buses and others jostling within), so we need to have more car pooling of private vehicles. We could also start commuting to work or other destinations on cycles or electric vehicles. To make electric vehicles popular, the government should reduce customs duty and taxes on them.
Our common agenda should be to make Kathmandu better, and it can only be done if we are unselfish and work for the common interest. That’s why, another important Value Added Resolution should be to respect women. Each one of us should make a Value Added Resolution to respect women, and one way we could respect women is by providing seats to ladies in crowded public vehicles. Another VAR could be to not complain too much, especially if your complaints are not followed by actions. Complaints, in most cases, do not help improve the situation unless followed by constructive actions.
So, if all of us make these simple but important Value Added Resolutions and abide by them, it will benefit me, you, everybody in Kathmandu, and the whole nation. Such good practices, when emulated by the international community could in fact benefit the entire world. Cheers to our resolutions and their effective implementation.
The author works in Standard Chartered Bank, Nepal