The Class Content of the Goods and Services Tax Prabhat Patnaik

The discussion on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) until now has focused almost exclusively on the distribution of its burden across commodities, on the difficulties of meeting its stringent bureaucratic demands, and on the delays in obtaining claims for refunds. Even the view that it is pushing the economy into a recession has attributed this looming recession merely to its stringent procedural demands which supposedly have tied most sellers in knots. In all this however the class content of this new tax regime has been missed. Indeed many would even ask: if one kind of indirect tax regime which…

A Dangerous Analogy Prabhat Patnaik

Narendra Modi’s attempt to imitate Jawaharlal Nehru by giving a mid-night speech on July 1 at the Central Hall of parliament, while inaugurating the Goods and Services Tax, could perhaps be passed off as a merely laughable idiosyncrasy. His equating, or even putting on a parallel footing, a mere tax-reform with the grand historic event of India’s attaining independence, could perhaps be shrugged off as just harmless self-promotion by one who prides himself as the author of the tax-reform. But the speech he gave on this occasion invoked an analogy that is extremely dangerous and that cannot go unchallenged, for…

Financing Education Prabhat Patnaik

The Draft National Education Policy unveiled by the central government puts forward a bizarre line of reasoning. Education, it is argued on the basis of a long-held and honourable belief going back to the Kothari Commission, should have an annual expenditure of around 6 percent of the Gross Domestic Product; we have come nowhere near this figure even after so many years and cannot do so on the basis of government effort owing to our stretched budgetary resources; hence, to realize this target, which most right-thinking persons in the country would accept, we must draw the private sector into the…

On Resource Mobilization Left Parties' Note

Successive governments in India have lacked the vision or the political will to recognize that for adopting a broad-based and effective pro-poor programme as well as finance its development, it must shift its fiscal policy in a direction that is geared towards taxing the rich effectively in order to generate more tax revenues and a high tax-GDP ratio. In fact, the trend has been to the contrary: the rich have received several tax concessions. The capital market, the corporate sector and the new service sectors have also received unduly large concessions in the name of growth and development goals, but…