Towards a ‘Tax Free’ India

One of Thomas Friedman’s thesis states that individual countries must sacrifice some degrees of economic sovereignty to global institutions such as capital markets and multinational corporations for high performance, a situation he termed as ‘golden straitjacket’. Most ‘miracle countries’ like Singapore, UAE and others have done it commendably by making their economies resilient, free of corruption, most ease of doing business and most importantly ‘light on taxes’ to the individuals and corporations. The situation make sure that the world takes notice of such countries and prioritise their business interests around them.

Lee Kuan of Singapore showed the world how brilliantly it can be done. It is now said that another Lee Kuan is born in India in the form of Narender Modi, who seems to be bent upon replicating the Singapore type experiments on mass scale in a larger economy like India. By taking an unprecedented decision to curb black money in India a few days ago, he seems to take more radical measures to eventually make India a pleasantly  tax free country, thereby taking India’s ‘ease of doing business’ to decisively attractive levels for the world capital markets and the multinational companies. Imagine a country like India with vast land, labour and market resources, offering an ease of doing business like that offered by  Singapore. There could not be a matching opportunity of this type of situation anywhere in the world for international investors – short term or long term. By bringing India’s entire monetary system online and over the board, wiping away the parallel black economy, the biggest opportunity for India would be to also make it totally tax collection free (except import duties). Before the last few days only 20% of the estimated daily average transactions of 2.7 lakh crore (around 40 billion USD) is taking place via banks- says Anil Bokil of Arthkranti, a Pune based financial think tank. The think tank also propagates the idea of doing away with all high denomination currency notes in India and force the country to use visible and legal methods of transacting like- payment gateways, mobile payment apps, online payments and similar. By having a single banking system to collect revenue for the government which can be done in the form of a nominal transaction tax on daily transactions, it is possible for the government to stop collecting any direct or indirect taxes.

What does a tax free India signify anyway?

No country in this world as large and as populous as India has been able to offer a tax free environment for doing business till date. In fact this situation itself is one of the barriers to making India a tax free country. Traditionally India has not experimented with new ideas untried anywhere in the world, as we have consistently shied away from entering into an unknown territory with respect to policy of governance. Electoral reasons for a large democracy like India could be one of the reasons for India being a follower of the ideas of governance more so in the case of economic governance. However in last few days, we have seen our prime minister demonstrating that India is ready to enter unknown territories by experimenting with untried ideas elsewhere. 

However what does a tax free India signify to its future? It can do a lot to make India a truly dynamic and reasonably rich country with less corruption and most sought after destination for business and tourism. A tax free India means a larger number of activities happenning here in terms of businesses, manufacturing, infrastructure and tourism. A better ease of doing business would ensure that big global operations are designed to be wound around what is on offer in India in terms of land, food, raw material, labour, engineers, managers, simplicity of business policy environment and a corruption free interaction with regulators. Add to these is a very large emerging market for new products and services in India. A tax free India also means simplicity in revenue collection for the government thereby ensuring reduced salary bill for government staff and bureaucracy. A tax free India encourages enterprise, innovation, hard work and incentive to produce quality in services and goods. After all, only the best can fetch a premium.

A tax free India also makes it mandatory for all players to comply with important rules and regulations in the country to govern the society, while taking care of the environment and resources available. A tax free environment encourages, tourism, increased shopping, and better entertainment for the world. It also have the potential to bring necessary cultural changes in the Indian society for example potentially a reduced ‘power distance’ which is quite high in Indian culture at present. A tax free India would also make India an apex economy in today’s world, if not the top most economy. We would definitely be able to better the example of China.

The Rise of the ‘Rest’

Recent turmoil in Britain has been hotly debated world over about its impact on Britain, EU and the rest of the world. A lot has been said about the class divisions in the referendum and most analyst deploring the fact that ‘leave’ vote was dictated by the poor, uneducated and old people. It is also mentioned and debated that the same class divide may be seen in US election later this year. Even in other EU countries the emotions are building up of this non elite society which is pushing their countries towards seclusion from EU system. Does the vote of the ‘rest’ of this society indicate a society getting more dumb or plain stupid? Some analysts think so. But are we looking at a global phenomenon where the vote of this rest of the society will count more and more? Giving more shocks to the elite class sitting at the helm of affairs and claiming to make this world better for all. This elite class sitting in Washington, London, Brussels, Paris, and Central Delhi and even in Beijing is probably being suspected of serving their own agenda rather than agenda of the world’s unprivileged, poor and uneducated lot who have been waiting for years to the privileged lot to deliver on their promises but without any real progress. And obviously they are in majority. In Britain and probably in forthcoming US elections are we likely to see the rise of this rest.

It is hotly debated that never in the history of US, electorate was as divided as it is likely to be now. Rise of Donald Trump seems to be the result of this rise of the rest. And this phenomenon is likely to catch up all over the world. The Brexit incident has been attributed to not the economics but the so called xenophobia and impulse. So are we to judge that the choice of British poor and uneducated older lot is a bad choice because it is not based on economics or is it that the rest of the class is fed up with the elite so much that emotions plays an important role than the economics. The rest of the class is so desperate with the non performance of the elites that they are willing to keep the economics at the back burner and ready to dominate an agenda which is perceived to serve them better at any economic cost. If it is happening in two of the world’s politically most powerful countries it is likely to spread to many other countries too. The rest of the world seems to be losing faith in the elite class who is sitting at high offices of political, economic and academic importance.  Beijing’s suggestion to Chinese population of the bad consequences of democracy and Britain type referendum seems to the uneasiness of the same elite class with this situation. However this storm if assumes momentum is not likely to stop with the established rules and norms based on economics and meritocracy.

However the rise of the rest and their decisions can’t be judged to be related to emotions only. The phenomenon seems to be having an economic angle also. Recent conclusions with respect to a large wealth of the world shrinking in the hands of a few hundred families and increasing gap between the rich and the poor may be triggering this phenomenon which has its roots in economic shifts to ‘haves’ rather than ‘have-nots’. Therefore it will be wrong to conclude that vote of poor, uneducated and older people do not have a foresight or economics at its core. Recent developments however do have their major origins in an expression of loss of faith in the elite’s claim to common good by their knowledge and position. Therefore this change may be coming in future to wider geographical areas of this planet. This may be an important historical change to the process of political democracy and demographical distribution of economic power. And will be an important turning point in the recent history of mankind.


Why BREXIT is good for EU

“Leave as soon as possible” tells EU chiefs to UK as soon as it emerged that a majority of Britons feel it is good to exit an expensive organisation like EU, the one which forces UK to accomodate more migrants than its emigrants. It is not an emotional outburst of EU chiefs coming out of frustration of a big brother deciding to leave the 28 nations, comparatively more successful regional economic block. It makes more business sense for EU to get rid of this10th biggest net contributor (net contribution around 13 Bilion pound).

In order to understand the situation better, one need to go back to the formation of EU itself in 1972. Before EU was established most experts had concurred that an EU makes an economic sense if it is a congregation of equals. But that condition was never met. The result has been that EU has remained an unbalanced ship sailing throughout its history. The Greece crisis made it very clear to all the members, that some weaker members were enjoying the economic cooperation at the expense of citizens of some core members, having spending like those members. So already EU had been a tilted ship. Brexit is a sure reducer of such a tilt albeit to a smaller extent in short run, but has the potential to accelerate the process to make EU more and more balanced in the long run. A variable geometry of EU, for example, is a possibility now, comprising of a core of strong members with loose outer layer of member countries ‘in the making’. Or something similar which is now possible. EU chiefs have already placed their strong calls for introspection and feel confident of a better EU.

Brexit is not about economics, it is about xenophobia and outcome of this is going to be catastrophic for Britain. Scotland has voted for a ‘remain’ vote and is feeling it undemocratic for UK to bring it out of EU. There is a possibility of second referendum soon for independence from UK. This outcome will be there for everybody to see, including the populist separatist movements against EU, building up in other EU member states. Looking at these adverse consequences for UK after exit, there is a strong possibility of such forces lowering their voices, at least for some time. Meanwhile, EU chiefs have realized that EU citizens on the street are not against the idea of EU, it is only that they want another kind of EU. What is this kind of EU, would be found sooner than one thinks and this would be necessary for the survival EU and to move forward to become a more sustainable economic union.

Contrary to popular view, Brexit is likely to bring Germany and France closer, after Germany has lost its most closer trade ally. Germany will be forced to look at trade relations with other EU members more closely. US is likely to extend the special relationship to EU without UK, the relationship which it traditionally had with UK. It will be in the interest of US to negotiate business and other ties with a larger block in Europe than a small fragmented economically weaker UK.

Finally, it is up to Brussels to find its new avatar as soon as possible and to not only make it expensive for other members to leave but cheaper for then to remain in EU. For example, EU can run its affairs by opening associate memberships to many other outsider states and earning some extra money from such memberships.

3 days MDP on Exports – Imports Procedures and Documentation at I.T.S campus

I.T.S, Ghaziabad has now announced a 3-days Management Development Program (for working executives) on Export Procedure & Documentation -‘Step By Step Approach’ scheduled to be held in the Institute’s Campus in Mohan Nagar, Ghaziabad during June 21st –23rd , 2016 (TuesdayThursday) (Timings 10.00 AM to 5.00 PM daily) under the Program Directorship of Dr. Vijesh Jain.

The program will primarily focus on the topics such as Getting Started in International Trading- Formalities, Methods and Procedure; Market & Product Selection globally; Export Promotion Measures and provisions under Foreign Trade Policy 2015-20;Understanding Export Import Documents; Managing Pre- Shipment and Post Shipment Finance; Methods of Realizing Export Payments and Ensuring Guaranteed Export Payments; Credit Risk Management & Role of ECGC; UCP 600 & Letter of Credit; Currency Risk Management in International Trade; International Commercial Practices and INCOTERMS 2010; Central Excise Clearance Formalities for Exports; Customs Regulations and Clearance Formalities for Exports & Imports; Duty Drawback – Claims Methods and Procedure. The cost for participation for this 3 days (non – residential MDP is INR 10,000/- per participant. For more details on the program download the information brochure and registration cum nomination form here



Make in India & India’s Exports

What does ‘Make in India’ compaign means to the future of India’s exports? Is there a deeper impact of Make in India than what comes to our mind out of the first thought about it? Is it only about creating more employment? Is it only about having a vibrant industrial set up? What about the world standards? What about the design and R & D facilities? There are a number of questions related to assessing the real impact of Make in India campaign. It is not just about getting more FDI in greenfield projects, getting manufacturing of VLSI chips or mobile phones to be sold in a large Indian market. Make in India is a very serious concept which can change the fortune of India on the world stage within a foreseeable future. In the words of Shri Kumar Bali, Managing Director of Volvo India while speaking with the students of ITS recently, he explained that Make in India is already there to see and feel in the large and medium industries. For example, Volvo India is already designing vehicles for the world market, in India. The concept has motivated the industries to rethink their business models, to add capacities, run more shifts to cater to world market and not just India. GM, VW and Ford has already increased their production and running more shifts to cater to export markets.

In other words, Make in India has made the country, a serious contender for becoming the manufacturing base for export markets. The future of exports from India was never so bright in last more that 100 years. SMEs will also be included soon in the game as they are not only going to get deemed export orders but will also be able to export intermediate products directly to world markets. What they now need to urgently do is to prepare themselves for the biggest opportunity India has got after independence to attain an important position in world’s production and probably eradicate extreme poverty, entirely.

Shri Kumar Bali also rightly pointed out that we should not be too optimistic about the so called natural demographic dividends which India seems to be having, being relatively a younger nation than others. More than 60% of these young Indians are unskilled and if they are not brought into the mainstream of this production opportunity, this demographic dividend has the potential to become a liability for the country. Already signs of this potential disaster are visible in the form of recent job quota stirs in different parts of the country. ‘Skill India campaign’ which is rightly envisioned by our current PM, should be taken to its next level to avoid this disaster.

Therefore a combination of right policies around Make in India campaign can ensure India becomes the world hub of production of not only just auto sector but also other sectors like pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, nanotechnology, textiles, defense equipment, R & D outsourcing, light engineering goods, jewellery and even medical equipment.

Books available free on KINDLE

I am pleased to share that following books authored by me are available free on kindle between 8th Jan 2016 to 12th Jan 2016 (during free promotion week of my books)
1. Establishing Exports and Imports in India,
2. Multinational Workplaces: War of Culturally Seasoned Minds (co-author – Dr. Susana Costa e Silva)

Download KINDLE app on your android and search by my name.

Or go to this link – CLICK HERE