‘Lower tax rates pos­si­ble if eva­sion low­ered’

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Fi­nance min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley said on Satur­day that mod­er­ate taxes and high eva­sion could not co­ex­ist, as spec­u­la­tion con­tin­ued over the rate of the pro­posed goods and ser­vices tax (GST).

“If all tax­pay­ers pay their taxes, it will help bring in tax rates fur­ther low. The more the eva­sions and ex­emp­tions, the higher will be the tax rate. So, mod­er­ate tax rates and eva­sions can­not co­ex­ist,” Jait­ley said while ad­dress­ing BJP work­ers in Mumbai. He was re­ply­ing to a de­mand by Mumbai BJP pres­i­dent Ashish She­lar to lower the pro­posed GST rate to 17%.

The min­is­ter, in his 35-minute ad­dress, also tracked the coun­try’s eco­nomic tra­jec­tory since In­de­pen­dence and faulted Nehru­vian eco­nomics for trip­ping In­dia’s chances of mak­ing the most of growth op­por­tu­ni­ties in the last five decades. He cri­tiqued former prime min­is­ter PV Narasimha Rao’s role in ush­er­ing Fi­nance min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley at an event in Mumbai on Satur­day. in the eco­nomic re­forms of 1991, point­ing out that the late Congress leader was not a lib­eral thinker or a re­former and had been forced to ini­ti­ate re­forms by the coun­try’s im­pend­ing bank­ruptcy.

“I was read­ing the book on Rao (Half Lion: How PV Narasimha Rao Trans­formed In­dia) and came across some­thing very strange. When Rao be­came the ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter in Andhra Pradesh, his first de­ci­sion was that all pri­vate col­leges should be abol­ished and only gov­ern­ment should run all col­leges,’’ Jait­ley said.

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