PM's Finance Adviser Shaukat Tarin's announcement at a briefing to National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance that the government was imposing capital gains tax on real estate appears to be a step in the right direction. At the same time, he talked of granting exemptions to certain sections like the agriculturists. His statement that capital gains tax exemption to the stock market would continue till 2010 makes little sense as this sector usually makes huge profits. The investors ought not to be kept out of the tax net. A positive decision on this issue, on a priority basis, could help the government generate revenues and go a long way in reducing the ever-growing fiscal deficit. And in order to broaden the tax base in the real sense and make the country's taxation system fully effective, the government must do a little more. It should get the picture clear and include other sections of society, like landlords and others who are not subjected to tax in the system. The scourge of the black economy, estimated to be of the order of more than 50 percent of the national economy, ought to be reined in. It is unfortunate that a substantial number of well-off people, politicians and businessmen manage to evade taxes with the connivance of corrupt officials. It is the salaried classes, which have to bear the brunt. The unpleasant fact is that the taxpayers' money is wasted on corrupt practices or providing luxuries to the ruling classes. The ordinary man is left high and dry, complaining of poor civic and other amenities that he rightly expects the government to provide. This climate serves as a strong disincentive to submitting tax returns or making as much evasion as possible.