If you are in a hurry…
I blog within the shackles of Max Weber’s Iron Cage. Yes, I work for my bread there.
My interests are diverse. Jack of all, but master of none!
I am a University topper in the science of society and awarded a few fellowships for research in the same discipline. You may call me a sociologist.
I am a college topper and university rank holder in Law. Therefore, you can call me a law expert as well.
I am a post graduate in Public Policy and Management and also researched and implemented policies. May be I am a public policy specialist too.
I have a doctorate in the area of sociology of public finance. I worked in the area of public finance and fiscal administration for several years. I am labelled as a taxman, though I hate it as much as you do.
Leadership and management are areas of my scholarly work. I do train on those soft skills.
Other areas of my interest are white collar criminology and Fraud analysis.
If you want to know more….
Observing people and their behaviour and understanding the patterns that shape their decisions were of immense interest to me since early in my life. I started ‘publishing’ handwritten magazines and newspapers during my school days. As tape recorders became common in the circle of relatives and friends, I started creating audio magazines for private circulation during the college days. Many relatives stopped discussing any gossips in front of me fearing that I would publish that in the magazine.
I tried to comprehend and appreciate the principles of and practices in natural sciences, where individuals and their environment were dissected to understand their inherent properties, composition and factors of sustenance. My early training was in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. Even while engaging in experiments in the chemistry lab, I was puzzled at the rationale of duality created in knowledge as natural sciences and social sciences. Is natural science really ‘natural’? Does social science has more to do with nature than ‘social’? My focus was not on the titrations but on the attractions in the social world.
Natural science had lost its naturalness the moment man started acting on it. I found that the distinction between both the sciences were increasingly getting blurred. As most of the changes happening in the world are due to human interventions, one needs a social science perspective to understand them. It was thus clear to me that, to understand an event or a situation one has to know the people behind it. And in order to understand people, one needs to understand their attitudinal and behavioural patterns and the forms relationships take in an interactive environment.
The above paradigm switch in my thought process might be an important factor that propelled me to turn to the study of social sciences. When I topped the university during my post graduation in Loyola College and received a fellowship from the University Grants Commission, I switched over to one of the finest universities in the capital of the country (JNU) to do research. After my two-year MPhil program, I continued my research even after taking up a career. The decade long training and reading in social sciences were indeed stimulating. The opportunities to learn the unique theoretical and methodological themes that dominated the intelligentsia in different periods of history and different cultural contexts have enriched my understanding. I sincerely wished to be an arm chair academician at that point of time.
My focus was on social movements and was fascinated by the people’s action across the world to protect the environment. I studied extensively about the Green Movements in Europe and conservation movements in US, UK and other countries. I did a micro analysis of the Chipko Movement and Silent Valley Movement in India. I realized the potential of people’s movement as an ‘integrated’ effort to bring in heterogeneity, universality, and ideological neutrality in social action. But I quickly realized that they would enter the inevitable stage of ‘institutionalization’ and face a slow death. (Latest example for this is the Anna-Kejriwal movement in India). Ideological neutrality is a myth.
Gradually I realized that it is easy to dissect individuals and groups in the cozy libraries, seminar halls and project reports. One needs to be part of the governance to make a difference. It is not that comfortable to face people as they grapple with issues and challenges that emerge day by day. That is why I wrote the Civil Services Examination (one of the toughest examinations in the world) and got selected. My job as a taxman was not without challenges. I was seriously involved in the exercise of deepening of tax base, presuming that figures scribbled in the returns represented just a portion of the actual. I received certificates for notable achievements from the Central Board of Direct Taxes. But within a few years I realized that the tax potentiality lies not in the microscopic minority within but the vast majority outside the system. It was not clear why a country with considerable tax elasticity and tax potentiality found it difficult to attract more people to its tax rolls and gain more money to the direct taxes kitty. I joined for a post-graduation in the prestigious Indian Institute of Management (IIMB) to learn Management and Public Policy. My academic exposure at two universities in United States (Syracuse University where I did a residential course in International Public Policy sponsored by UNDP and Duke University where I did a residential course in Corporate Taxation and Public Policy skills sponsored by Govt of India) helped me to understand the international public policy and transnational fiscal issues.
At this point of time I understood the need for a systematic macro analysis of the issues. I was in fact plunging myself to what many call ‘research’ on the subject. Is tax aversion unique to some countries? Why people in some countries comply better than others? Why tax evasion is not frowned upon in some countries and disgraceful in some other countries? I understood that any statistical analysis based on secondary data cannot translate finer emotional and sociological facts in the realm of individuals and groups. An empirical analysis is imperative if one has to understand the why and how of tax non-compliance. A scientific analysis of the attitudes and perceptions of a sample of taxpayers can provide valuable insights into not only issues such as tax compliance and honesty at the personal level but also about interconnected social traits such as trust, reciprocity and altruism at the societal level. I studied the causes of tax evasion and its consequences by interviewing the tax evaders. That resulted in my book, which has undergone three reprints now.
Meanwhile the world changed a lot. Not only individuals but also large organizations wanted total freedom. They cried: ‘De-regulate, leave us free, we will produce the best results’. The chain reaction impacted the entire world because of the globalization and communication revolution. Large corporates stumbled and the economy got destructed. World cried again: ‘We need regulation!’. Markets can’t bring in transparency, equity, justice, and fairness in an unequal world. Market forces are unable to distinguish between criminality and economic strategy. I took a degree in Law to understand various laws (became a college topper and university rank holder). I should say, that was the most fascinating course among all academic adventures I had undertaken till that time./p>
Telecom sector has taken over the entire world as none could live without adopting the latest technology. It influenced and controlled the lives of every individual, government and the businesses. There was a regulatory vacuum in this area as people and various stake holders became apprehensive about the issues of tariff, privacy, security, technology replacement costs, quality of service, and procedural complexity. My attempt for next few years was to understand the situation by being part of an independent regulatory establishment.
At present, I am back in the area of fiscal administration and enforcement. I am also a passionate writer, blogger, leadership trainer, toastmaster and a keen observer of social reality. However, my activities and expressions in these passionate areas are purely personal, academic and artistic in nature and nothing to do with the parent organization I am associated with.
You are welcome to read my blog CYBER DAIRY
My Book Blogs: