India -Taxing the super rich more

02/02/2013

Recently there is a talk about taxing the super-rich more. At present there are In India only 3 rates i.e 10%, 20% and 30% of taxable income, for taxing the income of people in India. These slabs can be increased to 5 or 6. In several countries there are 5 slabs. In several developed countries, the maximum rate of income tax exceeds 50%. India can introduce tax rates of 40% and 50% for higher income groups. In countries like Italy and Netherlands, everyone has to pay income tax irrespective of the income. It is only fair that those who enjoy more benefits from government viz low income people should also be made to take some responsibility to pay at least a token contribution for the benefits. The lowest tax rate could be nominal –may be 1% or 2%. Cost of collection of income tax in the lowest slab would be high but ways can be found to minimise the cost of collection. Alternately indirect taxes like excise duty and sales tax rates should be increased.

Income from agriculture should also be taxed. However farmers should have the freedom to fix prices for their produce in the same way as industrialists fix prices for their products. Government should not interfere by regulations like procurement prices, ban on exports, export duty etc. Of course, governments can do away with the grants and subsidies.

The minimum wages should be so much that it is sufficient to meet all the basic needs and tax payments.

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Black Money- Government powers are limited

04/06/2011

A lot of discussions,meetings, agitations etc are taking place in India asking the Government to bring back the black money of Indians to India. In this connections,there appear to be the following constraints

1. the money belongs to individuals In he normal course, only the owners can take the money from the banks, though the government can explore possibilities of freezing the accounts etc but then the government should have details. individual depositors or foreign banks will not disclose the details.

2. The money is not with the foreign governments It is with the banks in foreign countries. Government of India can only negotiate with the foreign governments and not with the foreign banks as the banks would not negotiate with any one except the depositors Foreign governments may not be able to interfere with the banks without enacting new laws.

3 even if foreign governments enact laws to empower themselves to ask their banks to transfer the money to any bank in India, the foreign banks may not agree. the banks may go to the courts. courts will take into account the laws in existence at the time of deposit of the money.

From the above, it appears that it may not be easy for the government to bring the black money to India. But the government can certainly encourage those who have black money abroad to bring the same to India, by waiving punishment, penalty and also offering lower rates of tax. For example government can announce that the black money can be transferred to India and that those who transfer would need to pay tax of only 20% or 25% and that no questions would be asked. Since the deposits in foreign banks carry no or very low interest, most of the depositors would be willing park their money in Indian banks which pay nearly 10% interest.Unlike in the past,foreign exchange is easily avialable for all legitimate purposes. And also as the Indian Rupee is fairly stable, there is no particular advantage for majority of the people to keep their money abroad. Considering all these,some depositors may not mind paying a penalty/higher tax of 35% or 40% or even more)


Bharat Bandh uncalled for

05/07/2010

Increase in diesel, petrol, cooking gas prices should lead only to a marginal or negligible increase in overall prices as:

a) The price of diesel was increased by Rs.2 per litre i.e. by around 6%. The cost of diesel in the truck freight charges is only about 40-50%, the balance being the cost of driver, cleaner, depreciation and profit margin. Thus the freight charges should increase only by about 2.4% – 3%.

 b)transport charges in the retail cost of any product is only 5- 10%, the major components being cost of raw materials, interest rates, depreciation, profit margin, wages & salaries, tax, advertisement charges etc. Thus the fuel price increase should lead to general price rise of just 0.12 to 0.30% i.e. if the retail price of a product was Rs.100, it should cost now only Rs.100.12- Rs.100.30 i.e just 12 -30 paise more, which is definitely negligible.

c)In the case of  auto rickshaws, one litre of petrol gives about 25 kilometers for which the charges are around Rs.150. After price increase it could go up to only Rs.152 or just 1.67%.

 d)in the case of private use of motorcycles, assuming an average consumption of 10 litres (traveling about 800 to 1000 km) per month by a person with an income of Rs.20000 per month, his expenses on petrol will go up by just Rs.35 only i.e less than 0.2% of his income which again is negligible.

 e) cooking gas price has gone up by 10% but average consumption in a  family per month is just 1 cylinder or increase in expenses is only Rs.35 or less than 0.2% of the monthly income.

 f) overall additional expenses for a middle class family shall not be even 1% and this every one can easily absorb

 g) the interest rates had drastically come down recently(by about 4 percentage points) as a measure of reversing the economic slow down. Truck owners, auto rickshaw owners, and manufacturers who usually get finance from banks save a substantial amount on this account. They can easily afford to absorb the additional expenses due to fuel price increase, in stead of passing on the same to the customer. Even if they pass on the additional cost to consumer, consumer’s burden is negligible.

 h) the common man, who works under employment guarantee scheme got an increase of 25% in wages, from Rs.80 to Rs.100 three months ago. So he should not have any problem in meeting less than 1% increase in cost of living.

 i)the increase in salaries of central and several state government and public sector undertaking employees on account of 6th  Pay Commission as also income tax liberalization will enable employees to bear the additional expenses without any difficulty.

 In view of the above, it appears that Bharat Bandh is uncalled for. At the same time the government should restrain truck owners from increasing their charges/prices on the pretext of fuel price increase, beyond 3%, auto rickshaw owners and taxi owners beyond 2%, and manufacturers beyond 1%.