Most economists are aware that the Indian economy is like an ice-berg: one tenth is visible above the surface and nine-tenths is hidden from the gaze of the tax man. Mr. Arun Jaitley, by promulgating GST at the bewitching hour on the 30th June, has taken care of the former but the problem of the latter part still remains. This under water, or underground, economy however is, however, subject to a different kind of taxation, but one in which the lucre does not go to the consolidated fund of the state but finds its way into the pockets (and lockers) of various government functionaries from a whole host of departments: police, excise, income tax, revenue, transport, local bodies, PWD, forests, industries, etc. to name just a few. Each has its own slabs of rates and sub-rates, which again vary from state to state. All this creates massive confusion which is not good for the economy: any businessman or tax avoider wants a stable regime of under-the-table payments so that he can build them into his quotes or ensure that he doesn’t get ripped off by his chartered accountant or tax consultant. It is time, therefore, to address this huge problem by bringing in GST II or Graft and Sleaze Tax.
|The author retired from the IAS in December 2010. A keen environmentalist and trekker he has published a book on high altitude trekking in the Himachal Himalayas: THE TRAILS LESS TRAVELLED.
His second book- SPECTRE OF CHOOR DHAR is a collection of short stories based in Himachal and was published in July 2019. His third book was released in August 2020: POLYTICKS, DEMOCKRAZY AND MUMBO JUMBO is a compilation of satirical and humorous articles on the state of our nation. His fourth book was published on 6th July 2021. Titled INDIA: THE WASTED YEARS , the book is a chronicle of missed opportunities in the last nine years. Shukla’s fifth book – THE DEPUTY COMMISSIONER’S DOG AND OTHER COLLEAGUES- was released on 12th September 2023. It portrays the lighter side of life in the IAS and in Himachal.
He writes for various publications and websites on the environment, governance and social issues. He divides his time between Delhi and his cottage in a small village above Shimla.
He blogs at http://avayshukla.blogspot.in/