Paying taxes

About ten days at a presentation I made at the Vivekananda International Foundation in Delhi on China, Dr. Surjit Bhalla was present. He made an interesting point that under the World Bank’s ‘Ease of doing business’ rankings there is an indicator called ‘Paying taxes’ and on that basis, India’s tax incidence is 60.6%, one of the highest in the world. I came home and checked it. He was right. Small consolation that Brazil and China seem worse off than India. It, once again, disproves the thesis that taxation is not a problem in India. Taxation – rates, payments and administration – does constitute a big problem.

I wanted to include this information in my MINT columns. But, I had not done so in my column on Jan. 31 nor in my comment on the budget. My bad.

The budget had given an inkling of the extent of scrutiny that awaits the many depositors in the aftermath of the Nov. 8 Note Ban. That is needed. But, simultaneously, it does have to be recognised that India is a high tax incidence country and something needs to be done about it. That too is an important and integral part of ensuring better tax compliance, elevation of tax/GDP ratio, etc. Use of big data to go after defaulters, evaders comes naturally to those in power and those who wield authority. But, showing a friendly face too matters. Would it be understood, recognised, accepted and implemented?

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