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Gaurav Choudhury

Consulting Editor

Network18

GST @ Five | Elegant in promise, a work in progress in practice

BUSINESS

GST @ Five | Elegant in promise, a work in progress in practice

Five years since it has been in place, the GST continues to remain a work in progress. The primary pain points include multiple tax slabs, taxmen’s arbitrary interpretations, and the over-dependence of the GST compensation for states to plug revenue gaps

Worrying details could be hiding in sticky wholesale prices

BUSINESS

Worrying details could be hiding in sticky wholesale prices

A lot will depend on the fresh arrival of supplies of seasonal vegetables and the summer-sown kharif crop. All eyes are on the monsoon rains, and when they start lashing north-west India, the country’s grain bowl

GDP | Economy in slowdown mode. Monsoon rains critical to quick revival

BUSINESS

GDP | Economy in slowdown mode. Monsoon rains critical to quick revival

GDP grew 8.7 percent in 2021-22, but slowed to 4.1 percent in the fourth quarter. This slowdown comes at a time when people are battling persistently high cost of living with growing prices of both essentials and aspirationals 

Inflation is not what used to be. Temporary tax cuts may be needed to tame it

BUSINESS

Inflation is not what used to be. Temporary tax cuts may be needed to tame it

A rationalisation of taxes in a host of manufactured products can bring down prices quickly, and also help shift the terms of trade favouring farmers who have been paying a higher price for goods that they buy than the price they get for goods that they produce 

State finances need top priority as many dangerously stare down a debt hole

BUSINESS

State finances need top priority as many dangerously stare down a debt hole

Sunset of GST compensation next month, guarantees for power discom bonds, and extra borrowings for non-asset creating revenue expenditure could end up worsening state finances 

Cut out statistical fallacies. Counting the dead is serious business

BUSINESS

Cut out statistical fallacies. Counting the dead is serious business

Under-reporting of Covid-19 deaths by a multiple of 10 will eventually have to show up in the crude death rates of those years. This will require a door-to-door enumeration. This will be time consuming, but worth the effort for the sake of public health and data in India. Until then, all estimates are just that, estimates

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to lower VAT on fuel carries a message on burden of fiscal responsibility

BUSINESS

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to lower VAT on fuel carries a message on burden of fiscal responsibility

The Prime Minister’s April 27 remarks need to be seen in the context of the high tax structure in petroleum pricing, which is a painful legacy issue in a rather flawed design of India’s energy economics 

Bureaucrats are right. Fiscally reckless freebies are a bad idea

POLITICS

Bureaucrats are right. Fiscally reckless freebies are a bad idea

Building flyovers across the cityscape does not solve the problem of traffic jams. It requires investment in good, efficient and dependable public transport. Likewise for effective welfare economics

As sustainability reporting kicks in, ESG investing faces global credibility risk

BUSINESS

As sustainability reporting kicks in, ESG investing faces global credibility risk

Paul Clements-Hunt, who coined the acronym ESG, said that the ESG fund industry is headed for a ‘shakeout’ over the next five years 

Foster innovative thinking in the IAS by defining KPIs, KRAs

POLITICS

Foster innovative thinking in the IAS by defining KPIs, KRAs

The fear of losing if targets aren’t met inspires innovation in the corporate world — something that doesn’t come about in a structure of ‘time bound’ promotions and wage increments 

Pizza toppings and momos have exposed GST’s flawed design. Time for an overhaul and make it good and simple

BUSINESS

Pizza toppings and momos have exposed GST’s flawed design. Time for an overhaul and make it good and simple

GST was intended to offer a single shot solution by cleaning up India's untidy patchwork of central and local levies. Five years later, it is risking itself to turn into a distorted caricature of the earlier gobbledygook that it replaced, with multiple slabs, erratic interpretations, and arbitrary taxman interference 

Time to delink political risk management from economic reforms

BUSINESS

Time to delink political risk management from economic reforms

The Centre would do well by beginning a structured consultative process to reform the farm sector. Besides, setting the ball rolling, it will also signal the government’s intent to walk the talk on its reforms agenda

Piyush Goyal the reformer shines through in India-UAE CEPA and other complex trade pacts

INDIA

Piyush Goyal the reformer shines through in India-UAE CEPA and other complex trade pacts

Trade negotiations are substantially about expanding the area of the possible, and gradualism is a given approach. Seen through this lens, the pace at which Goyal has piloted these, building personal rapport with his counterparts, are nothing short of big-bang

Budget 2022| FM Niramala Sitharaman blends welfare needs with reformist intent

BUSINESS

Budget 2022| FM Niramala Sitharaman blends welfare needs with reformist intent

India’s official digital currency coming soon; gains from crypto assets to be taxed at 30 pc from April 1, 2021; capped the surcharge on long-term capital gains on any type of assets at 15 per cent; measures for use of big-data and drones in the farming sectors and incentives for agri-tech startups announced.

Economic Survey 2022 pegs FY23 GDP growth at 8-8.5%

ECONOMY

Economic Survey 2022 pegs FY23 GDP growth at 8-8.5%

Economic Survey 2022: Calls for modifying IBC to make processes simpler; sounded a note of caution on the potential of the US Fed Reserve’s tapering on India; surging domestic inflation and rising oil prices remain as watch out areas; bats for A-I, drones for agri reforms

Here’s why the morning hot cuppa and the platter got costlier

BUSINESS

Here’s why the morning hot cuppa and the platter got costlier

If crude prices harden, it could have a cascading effect, negating the fuel tax cut gains that lowered petrol and diesel prices. Costlier transport fuel could make most other goods dearer as the cost of ferrying products across India becomes expensive 

Budget 22: Policymaking is more than just fiscal math in times of COVID and elections

INDIA

Budget 22: Policymaking is more than just fiscal math in times of COVID and elections

FM Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Budget just ahead of crucial Assembly polls in UP and other states. The challenge for the finance minister will be to walk the talk on the government’s reformist intent without being on the wrong side of the political debate.

GDP noses ahead of pre-COVID-19 levels, but don’t pop the champagne yet

BUSINESS

GDP noses ahead of pre-COVID-19 levels, but don’t pop the champagne yet

To assess how far the economy has recovered from the piling rubble of COVID-19’s devastation, it will be more prudent to compare the current year’s metrics with that of 2019-20, the immediate pre-COVID-19 year.

Farm laws rolled back. Whither agriculture reforms?

BUSINESS

Farm laws rolled back. Whither agriculture reforms?

Farmers need access to markets that fetch them the best price in efficiently driven systems. The Prime Minister’s announcement shall take care of farmers’ fears of corporate takeover of India’s agri markets. The bigger question is: Is the status quo situation of over-dependence on middlemen better? 

New contractor selection process will enhance transparency, efficiency

BUSINESS

New contractor selection process will enhance transparency, efficiency

This is a good beginning to infuse quality and move away from the default lowest-bidder-wins (L1) method. A lot, however, will depend on the design of the QCBS method for specific projects and the way the weights are assigned and appraised 

India’s Growth Story | Union Budget could be a booster shot for economy

BUSINESS

India’s Growth Story | Union Budget could be a booster shot for economy

From IMF to Moody’s, the phraseology is bullish about India. The condition is perfect for the Budget to help regain the status of the fastest growing economy on a sustained basis 

Air India-Tata Deal: Shed flab quickly to fully end the Maharaja’s privy purse

BUSINESS

Air India-Tata Deal: Shed flab quickly to fully end the Maharaja’s privy purse

Thinning down of Air India’s muster rolls, without too much pain, in the quickest possible time through a well-structured VRS scheme along with natural attrition will be key to the revival plan

A Baa3 rating is not in sync with Moody's bullish assessment of India

BUSINESS

A Baa3 rating is not in sync with Moody's bullish assessment of India

Despite brighter macroeconomic prospects, a string of policy reforms, and a fast recovering financial sector emerging from a rubble of bad loans, India’s credit rating still remains tantalisingly close to the ‘junk status’ 

Demand is back, but rising costs could spoil the revival party

BUSINESS

Demand is back, but rising costs could spoil the revival party

Businesses are looking expectantly towards festive season buying to bring them closer to pre-COVID-19 levels of sales volume. Escalating costs, however, can erode profitability 

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