EDITORIAL Letters to The Editor

Letters to The EDITOR

poll promises

 

Laudable move

It is laudable move that service carrier Vistara Flight has announced introduction of the initiative to provide sanitary pads with biodegradable organic sanitary napkins on its flights to women travellers on request, starting from this International Women’s Day. I would like to request the authorities of other flights to take similar initiatives for the interest of other women travellers. I would also like to request the Ministry of Civil Aviation to take similar steps too.

Putul Sarma,
Bamgaon, Biswanath Chariali.

GST Council’s move on taxes: An analysis

The GST Council, a constitutional body made up of the Finance Ministers of States and the Centre, reduced taxes on almost 30 goods and services in December, 2018. The reductions show two clear trends: a number of goods and services are being pushed into lower category of tax slabs and the peak rate of 28% is on its way to being rendered almost irrelevant. The changes are welcome and are an important step in reducing the indirect tax burden on people.

Once the latest reductions take effect, it would mean the Council has reduced the rates on nearly 360 items since GST was rolled out.
Another positive development is that work is on to reduce the compliance burden of filing tax returns, especially for smaller businesses. Even if the current reductions and other improvements have been prompted by approaching general election, the GST Council nevertheless deserves praise for being consistent in its attempt to iron out flaws in GST architecture. Lower taxes, in fact, will help the economy improve – thereby boosting revenues in the long run. The GST Council should proceed on this path to compress the number of tax slabs and make the system simpler.

Even as the Council was debating a reduction in tax rates NK Singh, chairman of the 15th Finance Commission, observed that fiscal slippages could imperil macroeconomic stability. His caution comes in the backdrop of a plethora of unforeseen expenditures through farm loan waivers undertaken by the States. Before going in for more wasteful expenditures in the runup to 2019, India’s experience during the “taper tantrum” phase in 2013 should remind governments that their balance sheets have a significant impact on the country’s economic well-being.

Satish Kumar Sarma,
Kalyanpur, Biswanath Chariali.

Ever increasing assets of people’s representatives

There are certain sensitive issues relating to the people’s representatives of all political parties which the government either don’t take it seriously or don’t think worth its while to make any inquiry. Then some conscious citizens or NGO file PIL in the court to know what exactly is going wrong with the people’s representatives. ‘Loka-Prahari’ an NGO filed a petition in the apex court for elucidating the fact about the ever increasing assets of the people’s representatives. Particularly when the representatives happen to belong to the ruling party, it seems all of them get an Aladdin’s ‘Chirag’. We need not have to go far to ascertain this contention as it is very much appropriate to those in Assam. Taking cognizance of the PIL, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to find out the reason behind the ever increasing assets of the people’s representatives (MPs and MLAs) and to submit its report within two weeks. At a time when the common people are overburdened with tax and spiraling prices of the essential commodities, the MPs and MLAs have the power to increase their own salaries and other perquisites to ensure a cozy life for them. That apart, these representatives have a mysterious source of income, the mystery of which can only be unveiled by NIA, Income-Tax department or CBI given the full liberty. A country in which greed and its satisfaction take precedence over all other factors will have a tough time growing into the big power it dreams of becoming.

Ashok Bordoloi,
Dibrugarh.