ESOP - a Requiem to a new fable.
Sherkhan v/s Mouglies.
Mr. Chidambaram is supposed to be very intellectual and he deserves a doctorate on his innovative techniques in extracting juice from the hardest rock. This budget for the utter dismay of his fans has proved to lack tenacity and guts. He has resorted to un-abashed populism to extract money from corporates without any tinge of ethics or even mercy.
The FBT (fringe benefit tax) imposed before on companies who occasionally pay some benefits to their employees, proved to be a money spinner to the greedy government, emboldened by its success the FM is in a frenzy to add all sorts of items in to FBT so that the cows which yield more milk can be further squeezed until they bleed. There is some difference between milk and blood, which the FM doesn’t recognizes.
It is said that tigers generally does not poach on human beings, but when accidentally it happens to taste human blood, the beast go on hunting human beings throughout its life. The frenzy of our FM reminds that story. If hunting employees spoil image, go for the employers, they are small in number and killing them boosts the socialistic image of this hard-core Marxist.
The author does not know the name of that great man who first opted for the “employees’ stock option program” first, but that man deserves tremendous praise as the employees who work for him become the part owners of the firm which has enriched himself as well as his workers. What a beautiful blood-less revolution, any government which has any commitment to socialism should reward such a model employer and praise him in public.
But our FM is too “socialistic” to do that, for him employers are “petty bourgeois” who should be punished until they leave the job of “generating jobs” and join the rank of unemployed millions. The jobless millions are the darlings of this ‘Neo Marxist” who dream the scenes of Nandan Nilakeni and Azim Premji wander through the streets begging for jobs. “These people who amass wealth is the real threat to our country so I punish them with taxes unheard of in any civilized society” seems to be the ideology of this “learned” man.
What is this “ESOP”? Some employers of generally well to do companies award company shares to their employees either free or at a much discounted rate. About ten years back the then FM (Finance Minister) threatened to tax the employees for the monetary benefit they get through selling these shares. This move widely criticized as retrograde and had to be withdrawn. The present one being clever (some tell he is as clever as a fox in the Aesop’s fables!) simply put the burden on to the heads of the company which does not gain anything but goodwill out of this ESOP.
The calculation is very simple, suppose Infy shares are being traded in the bourses at Rs. 2000/- per share and the company allots 100 shares each to every employee at a price of Rs. 100/- the gain per share is Rs.1900/-. When Infosys has 100,000 employees total taxable amount @15% comes to Rs2, 8500, 00, 000/-.plus surcharge, cess of many hues etc. What an idea! The actual ESOP gainer is the idle government which does nothing but to play with all these amounts. When 100 companies opt for ESOP, the calculator with the author not big enough to do that!
A request to “Nasscom” (National Association for Software Service Companies) stop running to the Finance Minister for justice, instead defer the ESOP for an indefinite period, take the case only when this government unconditionally withdraws this draconian decision. If no ESOP is given what the government can do, can it compel your members to give ESOP. Let your members do business as usual and stop pleading with this FM who is out to kill all the geese those lay golden eggs.
What will he do when all the geese are dead, no problem he also will join the ranks of job-seekers along with your members. Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Sherkhan!
(Victory to the soldier, victory to the farmer, victory to the “tiger” and down with “Nasscom Mouglies”!)