Swachh Re­forms in Elec­toral Fund­ing

The Economic Times - - Front Page -

to the EC—one party, one ac­count. The bank would know who has bought the bonds but there will be anonymity on part of further dis­tri­bu­tions, so that one is not scared. If we want to dis­close even that, then they bet­ter pay through cheque. So in­dus­try peo­ple who com­plain and ask for anonymity, we are ready to give it. Now they can buy bonds from banks and give the bonds to po­lit­i­cal par­ties who will show it in their ac­counts. The party knows who funded them, and they can even­tu­ally dis­close how many elec­toral bonds they re­ceived. Which­ever party will take more than 2,000 in cash, it will not get tax ex­emp­tion.

Small tax­pay­ers have been re­warded post de­mon­eti­sa­tion. What about the aam aadmi? This is the first bud­get where there has been a cut in the tax of every tax­payer. Out of the 3.7 crore as­sessees who file re­turns, there isn’t a sin­gle per­son whose tax has in­creased. Also, there isn’t a sin­gle per­son who hasn’t seen a re­duc­tion in his tax. We have halved the tax for those un­der 5 lakh salary. Those above have also got­ten the 12,500 an­nual profit. I wanted to give out a cou­ple of mes­sages through this—one, that there should be more money in the hands of the tax payer and the mid­dle class. Sec­ond, I wanted to make it at­trac­tive at en­try point, so more peo­ple should en­ter. You come, pay the re­turn on half-a-page and there will be no scru­tiny and pay the tax. I used this sen­tence in my bud­get speech to­day--that the honest tax­payer is pay­ing the share of the tax evader. Af­ter de­mon­eti­sa­tion, these 18 lakh peo­ple that we have iden­ti­fied yes­ter­day, who have made de­posits in lakhs and crores, and don’t pay taxes or pay less taxes, now if I drag them into the tax net, then at least those honest pay­ers pay­ing their share must get some re­lief. So, I have re­warded hon­esty, at the same time put more money in their hands and I am try­ing to bring the non­fil­ers into the fil­ing cat­e­gory.

Do you have a road map on how For­eign In­vest­ment Pro­mo­tion Board (FIPB) will be abol­ished? More than 90% of FDI to­day is on the au­to­matic route so FIPB is not re­quired. FIPB is re­quired only in 10% cases. In most of these 10% cases you ac­tu­ally re­quire some clear­ance from the par­ent de­part­ment and then you re­quire FIPB. So, the in­vestor has to jump through hur­dles which are iden­ti­cal in na­ture. So the idea was to abol­ish this and get it done by the rel­e­vant min­istries.

Are you giving up your own pow­ers? That is what lib­er­al­i­sa­tion is all about…

CEA Arvind Subramanian had an en­tire chap­ter de­voted to uni­ver­sal ba­sic in­come in the Eco­nomic Sur­vey. What are your thoughts? Subramanian’s idea is won­der­ful. The dif­fi­culty is that in pol­i­tics that has not ma­tured you will have a kind of de­mand for con­tin­u­ing the ex­ist­ing sub­si­dies and also give uni­ver­sal ba­sic in­come, which is some­thing which is not pos­si­ble. The uni­ver­sal ba­sic in­come is an alternative to the cur­rent struc­ture of sub­si­dies and there­fore if In­dia’s pol­i­tics can ma­ture, I think Arvind’s idea on the ta­ble… Eco­nomic Sur­vey puts at times ideas for fu­ture de­bate. This time he has put uni­ver­sal ba­sic in­come and I think both these ideas merit se­ri­ous dis­cus­sion amongst the opin­ion maker.

You seem to sug­gest it is an idea whose time has not come? It is an idea whose time should come…

ARINDAM

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