India Hires Eunuchs as Tax Collectors

This is just too strange not to write about. Can you imagine the I.R.S. going this route?

One cash-strapped Indian city has launched a unique collection service to dislodge payment from tax deadbeats: Door-to-door eunuchs.

Eunuchs--a term used in India to describe transvestites, postoperative transsexuals and hermaphrodites--traditionally make a living on tips for dancing at weddings or for blessing newborns. They frequently refuse to leave until they are given money.

Patna, the capital of Bihar state in eastern India, hired scores of them Wednesday to compel shop owners to pay their back taxes. "We are confident that their reputation and persuasive skills will come in handy for the municipal authorities to collect taxes from defaulters," said Bharat Sharma, a revenue officer.

At least they are an equal opportunity employer.

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    Well.... (none / 0) (#1)
    by scribe on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 07:32:51 AM EST
    for some reason this strikes me as an eminently proper and practical way of going about it.

    1.  Government-sponsored annoyance to collect what's due is, IMHO, eminently more reasonable than government having IRS agents "Get Seizure Fever" (remember that scandal).

    2.  The people hired are (if memory serves) often the target of serious discrimination and ridicule in Indian society.  Their presence in and around the businesses of defaulters (making noise until paid), plus their standing out in the crowd by virtue of "brightly colored saris" will likely result in ridicule and opprobrium rubbing off onto the defaulters.  Imagine people walking by a store invested by the eunuchs - laughing at the store owner who's now been outed as a tax cheat.  It's gonna happen.  

    Shift context - imagine a squad of government-sponsored-and-protected drag queens hanging out at the store of some tax cheat in, say, Idaho making a scene, and how badly the store owner would be ridiculed in town....

    3.  As government methods go, this is extraordinarily gentle, and strikes me as a very wise and subtle thing to do.  

    Old News (none / 0) (#2)
    by Randinho on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 08:49:21 AM EST
    This is old news. I saw this on CNN International some three years ago. Part iof the reason why they use them is that they are social pariahs and don't leave until they get paid.

    Old news new idea (none / 0) (#3)
    by Che's Lounge on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 04:06:41 PM EST

    ...they are social pariahs and don't leave until they get paid.

    Sounds like the perfect new job for Abramoff, Ney, Cunningham, and Delay.