Subramanian Swamy, the man who minces no words with his opinions and views has been in the news of late for his tirade against Raghuram Rajan and the Chief Economic Advisor Mr. Arvind Submaniam. For now, our interest is not on his tirades against them but on his opinion on income tax and why he wants it to be removed. Subramanian Swamy wrote on The Hindu on an “imminent crash” of the Indian economy and also suggested a way out for the Indian economy. He has suggested the abolition of income tax to boost the economic growth of India. Where is he spot on? Where are the grey areas? Let’s have a look.
Before we go into this, let us quickly look into some important indicators of the economy that as Mr. Swamy suggests is heading towards a tailspin despite a reported 7% growth.
1. Exports and imports of the majority of the commodities have declined steadily.
2. Household savings as a percentage of GDP has come down from 35% in 2005 to 28% in 2015.
3. Investments lined up for infrastructure is lower than the 2005 level.
4. Manufacturing is growing dismally at 2-5 %.
5. NPA’s have risen dramatically and credit growth has slowed.
Adding to this, very slow or nil employment generation all point to one direction, the economy is indeed in a tailspin, will Swamynomics work?
If as suggested by Mr. Swamy, income tax could be abolished, it would have the following cascading effects:
1. The salaried employees who are the main tax payers of India will be able to boost their expenditures and as a consequence, it will boost other businesses besides the salaried employees can retain enough for investments.
2. China leads India in a lot of economic parameters, but lags in one thing, a crucial thing, consumption as a percentage of GDP, India is way ahead of China. China is an export driven economy, India is a consumption driven economy and it is for that reason, the abolition of income tax makes perfect sense to boost consumption.
3. This would also unearth the black money stashed by the ultra rich to avoid tax and gets injected into the economy. The ultra rich and the poor both are out of the tax bracket. The brunt is borne by the middle class who are the engine of India’s economy.
So if income tax is abolished, how will the government earn the money?
Income tax contributes about 2 lakh crores for the government, abolishing that is no straight forward task unless there is a concrete plan to earn from other means. Swamy suggests it could be earned by the auctioning of resources. Auctioning of resources is already happening, auctioning and taxation is a double burden on the consuming Indian who is the prime mover of the economy. The government taxes the citizen and auctions the resources, the money spent by telecom companies in auctions are recuperated from the consumer in the form of high voice or data prices. Both of these reduces the consumption power of the ordinary citizen.
Two ways Indian economy can improve
1. The global economy should improve sooner than later and thereby kick-starting the sluggish exports and imports
2. Boost consumption of Indians by reduction or abolition of income tax. India’s strength has always been its consumption power, the demographic dividend will aid consumption, we need to harness this strength of ours.
1. Could auctioning of resources be sustainable over the long run?
2. Could it affect short, medium or long-term government investments and expenditures?
Have you ever spotted a speeding car without a care for the traffic signal? Ever spotted a person rushing to the other side of the road when the traffic light is green? Ever seen bikers use pavements as roads to save a few minutes? Ever seen cars change lanes on highways or rush hour traffic on a whim? Well, so have thousands of other Indians.
Road safety in India is a serious concern. For a country that boasts the second largest road network in the world, it is inarguable that we need to pay more attention to our safety on roads – a place where we step out every day, spend a handsome amount of our time.
The government has come up with several regulations on road safety, but is this enough? Not if awareness around the topic is still lacking.
The intention behind the initiative is to bring together lawmakers, local authorities, traffic police and citizens under one umbrella.
The cities will be rated on parameters such as Pedestrian Rights, Road Lighting and Maintenance, Motor Laws and Traffic Control, Emergency Services, Road Cleanliness, Connectivity, Road Transport Infrastructure, Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management, Road Safety, Differently abled friendly, Road Quality and Road Safety For Children.
Here are the ten cities that were chosen for Road Safety Index 2018 and the reasons that make their roads safe or unsafe:
Mumbai has facilities for the differently-abled like reservations in public transports, special train compartments, concessions on fares, etc. The city that never sleeps scored the best when it comes to citizens’ participation in making the city accepting and warm toward the differently-abled. It won the category ‘Differently-Abled Friendly’.
However, there are areas of improvement – illegal hawkers, pavements and footpaths need to be fixed or reconstructed.
Anyone who hails from the capital of West Bengal knows about its recreational parks and brightly lit streets. Its traffic police deserve special mention for redirecting rush traffic every day as Kolkata roads are narrow and many are one-way streets.
During Durga Puja, the city tries to make Pandals differently-abled friendly by installing ramps.
It won the categories – ‘Road Lighting & Maintenance’ and ‘Road Safety For Children’.
But the City of Joy needs to work more on giving its residents #HappyRoads. Issues of waterlogging and numerous street hawkers, roadside vendors in busy areas need to be solved.
There’s no one who’s been to Delhi and not praised its excellent connectivity. Delhi prides itself for broad roads, top-notch metros, pavements and foot over bridges. The national capital surely serves as an example for cities across India when it comes to road connectivity hence, it won the categories ‘Connectivity’ and ‘Road Quality’ in the Road Safety Index.
While Delhi has made many of its public places differently-abled friendly, the areas that need improvement are long hours in traffic, fixing of roads that pose a hindrance to daily commute and rash driving by bikers.
The city boasts well-marked zebra crossings, adequate footpaths for pedestrians, underground SMART dustbins, reduced encroachments. Raipur fares well in almost all parameters of road safety. It won the category of ‘Road Safety’ and ‘Pedestrian Rights’.
However, the city could do better with stricter fines for traffic violators and awareness about road safety and garbage disposal.
Other cities can take inspiration from Chennai on how to ensure good road safety. The city has wide, well-connected roads that are lit properly. It also boasts rigorous night patrolling where traffic rules violators are fined. One of the best initiatives taken by Chennai is the separate parking space on city roads that prevent traffic from accumulating. It came out on top in the category ‘Motor Laws & Traffic Control’.
Areas where Chennai needs to improve are street lighting and cleanliness.
Indore is one of the few cities that has used plastic waste for construction of roads and covered garbage disposals, which explains why the city won the ‘Road Cleanliness’ category. Indore also has adequate zebra crossings, visual signals, street lights, footpaths.
But areas where the city needs improvement are – strict action against traffic violators, public spaces more differently-abled friendly.
There is a lot to learn from the road safety measures implemented by Ahmedabad – sound medical facilities, separate lanes for local buses, special cab service for differently-abled, wide roads. Ahmedabad won in the category ‘Emergency Services’, ‘Road Transport Infrastructure’ and ‘Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management’.
If the Heritage City improves road safety awareness among citizens, it’s bound to fare even better. Better street lighting and lesser encroachments will work in favour of Ahmedabad.
The other cities shortlisted were Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad but they didn’t win any category.
Maruti Suzuki’s initiative to rank cities will encourage citizens and administration to do better and emerge on top.
The Logical Indian community wholeheartedly appreciates the various initiatives undertaken by Maruti-Suzuki in this direction. Not only the government but we, as citizens of this country, should also pledge to make our roads safe. One of the first steps towards this is that we understand our duties.
We hope the authorities take a note while we pledge to do our own bit towards happier, safer Indian roads.
For more information about the Maruti Suzuki’s initiative and the Road Safety Indexclick here.