Too many taxes, anti-rich mind­set need to go for econ­omy to be back on its feet

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - All That Matters -

will try their best to en­sure you don’t make money. God for­bid you do, and become suc­cess­ful, you will not be called a su­per achiever. No, you will be called su­per rich. And in In­dia, rich peo­ple are bad peo­ple. So, su­per rich peo­ple are su­per bad. Hence, your in­come will be taxed the high­est, and then some more with cess and sur­charges.

What­ever money you are left with af­ter all this, the gov­ern­ment takes another big chunk when you go out to spend it. Stay­ing in a nice ho­tel? Oh, that means you are rich, and rich peo­ple are bad, so pay another 28% of your al­ready su­per-taxed in­come. Want a car? Pay us another 28% of your al­ready su­per-taxed in­come, and pay us road tax and a cou­ple of other charges as well.

And when the GDP num­bers come out, won­der why we aren’t growing? Af­ter all, we made a beau­ti­ful logo for ‘Make in In­dia.’ We also said In­dia is great. What is wrong with these stupid in­vestors? Where have they gone?

Well, they may be in Dubai, where tax rates are zero per­cent and in­vestors are wel­come. Or they might be in Sin­ga­pore, Hong Kong or any of the South­east Asian coun­tries where taxes range from 10%-20% over­all. Or they might be some­where they don’t mind pay­ing high taxes, be­cause the roads are smooth and ev­ery­thing works. Most of all, they must be in a place where in­vestors, achiev­ers, cap­i­tal­ists and en­trepreneur­s are not seen as evil who need to get their eyes gouged out to keep them in their place.

Well, I don’t mean to rub it in too much, but the point is the prob­lems with our econ­omy are self­cre­ated. We have cre­ated an anti-in­vestor, anti-wealth creator, anti-achiever, anti-suc­cess cul­ture so bad that now all these things evade us. When faced with a cri­sis, all we do is roll back some bad poli­cies, and an­nounce more gov­ern­ment schemes, which re­quire even more money, which in turn re­quires goug­ing the achiev­ers even more.

Here are some spe­cific sug­ges­tions that can kick­start this econ­omy:

Re­move the cap­i­tal gains tax. In­vestors hate it, and it makes In­dian re­turns un­com­pet­i­tive. It’s not worth the rev­enues.

One GST and su­per sim­ple, low tax rates. Tin­ker­ing around will not fix this econ­omy. Chang­ing GST rates and ‘grant­ing re­lief ’ to the auto sec­tor will not kick-start the econ­omy. Set­ting one GST rate and get­ting the hell away from chang­ing it every few weeks will. In­come and cor­po­rate tax rates should also not have any cess, sur­charge or any com­pli­ca­tions. Both the GST and the tax rates should be low sim­ple, and fixed.

Change the mind­set. See the rich/achiev­ers/ cap­i­tal­ists as nodes of a hy­dra like econ­omy. They have the cap­i­tal that trick­les down, cre­ates jobs and grows the econ­omy’s ten­ta­cles. Cut­ting the nodes with the false no­tion of cre­at­ing equal­ity or fair­ness will kill the econ­omy. The rich will get richer in a growing econ­omy, deal with it. Fo­cus on mak­ing the poor richer, not the rich poorer.

Open al­most every sec­tor to 100% for­eign in­vest­ment. Bar­ring na­tional se­cu­rity in­dus­tries, there is no rea­son in to­day’s world to have it any other way. In­dia is open for busi­ness, for one and all.

Let tax col­lec­tions drop. Stop cel­e­brat­ing goug­ing more taxes as an achieve­ment. Let col­lec­tions drop due to lower taxes. They will come back when we grow at a much faster pace.

Fix the met­ros. Just as rich peo­ple, cities are also nodes to the econ­omy’s hy­dra. If se­nior man­age­ment, achiev­ers, tal­ented peo­ple do not want to live there, we will not have the kind of growth we want. Mumbai, Ban­ga­lore, Kolkata — try rush hour traf­fic. We choke our own growth due to our choked cities.

In­dia can grow fast quite eas­ily. The anti-suc­cess and anti-wealth men­tal­ity per­va­sive in our so­ci­ety and en­demic in our gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials has to change. It has al­ways kept In­dia’s growth be­low po­ten­tial. Ma­jor moves and not just tin­ker­ing is needed. We de­serve to be a rich na­tion. Let’s go for it!

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