‘Lower tax rates possible if evasion lowered’
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.