THE discussion on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) until now has focussed 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.
THOMAS Piketty and Lucas Chancel have just written a paper as part of their work for the World Inequality Report discussing the movement of income inequality in India. And their conclusion is that the extent of income inequality in India at present is greater than it has ever been at any time in the last one hundred years.
THE BJP government, like a bull in a China shop, is wrecking the economy. A neoliberal regime, even at the best of times, i.e., even when the economy is booming, brings misery to the vast mass of the working people by imposing upon the petty production sector a process of primitive accumulation of capital, through a withdrawal of State support from it and through leaving it to the mercy of the “spontaneous” working of untrammelled capitalism.
DR Timothy Wise, a well-known expert on agriculture based in the US, tells an instructive story about Monsanto and Malawi, a country currently in the process of finalising its seed policy. In Malawi, as in most other third world countries, peasants have traditionally stored their seeds from the previous harvest for their next planting, and have met and exchanged seeds among themselves in local seed-fairs.
THE fact that fascist elements in the US have started raising their sinister head and that Donald Trump has started showing his open sympathy for such elements is borne out by several recent incidents.
In a severe jolt to the Modi government’s tall claims that last year’s note ban had destroyed black money in India, RBI data shows that 99 per cent of the banned 1000-rupee notes were returned to the RBI.
WITH the replacement of the Planning Commission by the Niti Aayog, the Fifteen Year Vision, Seven Year Strategy and Three Year Action Agenda process is to come in place of the original Five Year Planning one. While the first two are still being developed, the NITI Aayog released some time back the final version of Three Year Action Agenda (TYAA) for the period 2017-18 to 2019-20, the remaining part of the Fourteenth Finance Commission period. The document claims that it “charts an ambitious, transformational yet achievable Action Agenda for the government during 2017-18 to 2019-20”.
AFTER months of dilly-dallying, the Reserve Bank of India has finally come out with the figure that nearly 99 per cent of the currency notes demonetised in November 2016, came back to the banking system. The total value of demonetised currency, in the form of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, was Rs 15.44 lakh crores, of which Rs 15.28 lakh crores came back to the banking system, which is 98.96 per cent.
THE post-liberalisation period is widely perceived to have been a period of jobless growth. Between 1999-2000 and 2011-12, proportion of men in the age-group 15 to 59 years who were gainfully employed declined from 84 per cent to 81 per cent. During the same period, proportion of women aged 15 to 59 years who were gainfully employed for at least some part of the year fell from 41 per cent to only 32 per cent.
VOLUME II of the Economic Survey which was brought out by the ministry of finance a few days ago paints an extremely grim picture of the Indian economy. The growth rate of real Gross Value Added (GVA which is the appropriate thing to look at, since the GDP measure includes net indirect taxes and hence does not truly reflect output trends), was 6.6 per cent for 2016-17 as a whole, compared to 7.9 per cent for 2015-16.