Sunday, June 27, 2010

Where are the mangoes?

Truth No.
1. A developed country exports industrialised goods.
2. A developing country exports agricultural goods, unprocessed goods
3. For some years now, we get only one variety of mango and those are costly
4. India is a roaring tiger and fav. destination for investment.......

The list goes on like six men and the elephant- all are partly right and yet in the wrong.

The whole economic theory of the past few decades has been a colossal blunder. The tag of 'developed' based on GDP and technological growth was conferred on the West and every other economy blindly ran after the indicators - rapid industrialisation, birth control, health care, growth of service sector, goods of ostentation, etc. What we achieved is food crisis and scarcity of even so-called free goods of nature like water and pure air.

India has now great variety of beauty products and shoes to choose from. But where are the mangoes? Either someone in faraway lands is enjoying it or the mango orchard has become a mall. The consumer has no option but for a mango bar - processed good - which is available for Rs.10 than the real-'organic' mango which is priced Rs.50 a kilo.

Everything has been tainted or painted with money band - contract farming and hailing processed goods - which means potato chips are better than potato curry - is perhaps responsible for this. Who decides where the raw materials flow into? It is money or markets. The wild scramble for market share and whirring the wheels of production non-stop results in shelves of unused packets of goods - food. India can soon rank proudly with the West in food wasted, while millions go hungry. Who pays for the wastage?

Given the reality of food crisis,water crisis, global warming or cooling - what's in a name - we know all is not well. Let's have a relook at our development models, our standards of measurement.- SK

Article in

DTC Discussion Paper - Ill-begun and Half-done

JUNE 23, 2010

By Subhashree Kishore

THE Discussion Paper to revise Direct Tax Code arrived just as we were beginning to tire of Anderson campaign and football. Going by the euphoria over EEE and the air time grabbed by the new DTC one would expect it to be made of sugar and spice and everything nice.

Alas! We never learn.

Teams of experts and reams of paper later, we have a half filled answer sheet. The Paper solicits suggestions based on hazy outlines and a promise to look into ‘other issues' not part of this paper. The few changes we see are because of administrative difficulties and logistical challenges. Of course it is also mentioned that assessees would benefit. The concern to smoothen the path for Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) and Non-residents (NR) is quite apparent as the paper unabashedly bats for special tax regime to attract investments and promote depth of capital markets.

The Pill

The individual assessee does have a few things to cheer about. Non-taxing of withdrawals from the Government Provident Fund (GPF), Public Provident Fund (PPF) and Recognised Provident Funds (RPFs), pension scheme of PFRDA and approved life insurance products has been proposed. This author in the article published in TIOL when draft DTC was placed in public domain last year [2nd Sep, 2009] had argued that withdrawal failed to satisfy the definition of income and the money had been saved from tax-paid or taxable income and it was not an additional income. The vociferous demand of salaried class including that of staff unions in this regard has been heard at least partly now.

See full article in

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tamil Conference

No vegetable is available for less than Rs. 40 to Rs. 50 per kg in Tamil Nadu. Rice in rice producing state is selling at Rs. 40 per kg. Once power-surplus state, Tamil Nadu is on load-shedding spree officially. Farmers have been forced to abandon kuruvai cultivation due to lack of power. Mills and industries in Coimbatore and Tirupur are dying without sufficient support and lakhs have been rendered jobless. Water problem in Chennai has not been solved for the past 50 years. Southern Districts of Tamil Nadu are still stuck in caste wars. One need not have any illusion about condition of roads or public health or safety.

Rs. 400 crore of public money is being spent in organizing Tamil Conference in Coimbatore. The parties which have thrived and successfully managed to hold power using language and caste, are not relenting. The masses just don’t seem to wake up from slumber and realize that harping about language or linguistic mega shows will not end starvation or joblessness or discrimination.

Tamil has lived for the past two thousand years without these parties which have sprouted in the past few decades. And with these parties, Tamil will have the same future as that of Tamils. It cannot be anything different. The whole show is just to divert attention of the suffering millions. And when it comes to political parties, sucess is guaranteed. How else one can explain the rationale behind giving TV sets to all households when crops wilt, children are half-naked and under-fed and labour is out on the streets without jobs? For ages, real issues are deliberately obscured by rulers. Tamil Conference serves this purpose in no small measure.- GK