Reality Check India

Imagining India

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on November 25, 2008

Image Courtesy : IBNLIVE

Nandan Nilekani, co-chairman of Infosys has recently written a book called “Imagining India” (I think Penguin).

Rajdeep Sardesai of IBNLIVE interviewed him about the book recently.

The following exchange caught my eye.

Rajdeep Sardesai: You actually believe that things like the single multipurpose identity card can actually reduce computation. We’ve seen it with taxation and the PAN card system.

Nandan Nilekani: My point is that if you look at our tax system, the way we collect revenues, 90 per cent of our taxes were indirect taxes like sales tax and excise tax which are based on a product. In another 10 years, 90 per cent of our taxes would be direct, like people like you and me and everybody else paying taxes. So there’s a huge shift. The same thing has to happen in our benefits. We have to go from indirect benefits, which were corrupt and go to the wrong people, to direct benefits where we out whatever the benefit is into the hands of the people and that can be done easily with technology.

Rajdeep Sardesai: My bigger worry has always been regional divide. I see …. (moves on to another topic)

Reality Check (who was also present in the room but was invisible) : Whewww ! That was close!

Source : IBNLIVE (text in italics mine)

Most of my readers know what I think about the SEZ policy.

I imagine an India where all SEZs less than the size of Shenzhen are scrapped. All IT tax holidays are withdrawn for non-strategic industries. Where local government (as sucky as they might be) have the ability to collect required revenue to build infrastructure for all citizens, not a ridiculous elevated highway. I do not know how many other Indians imagine this.


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