Arvind Subramanian (for Info only, not official)

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Arvind Subramanian

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    ... As the Goods and Services Tax (GST) overcomes the transitional implementation challenges, it is time to look ahead to further improving it. The impact of the highest rates has been reduced by substantially paring down commodities in the 28 per cent bracket. The simplification of procedures for small enterprises, especially those that sell to large enterprises, is under way. Bringing land and real estate into the GST is on the agenda for discussion. High priority must now also be accorded to the inclusion of electricity in GST. Why, how, and when? Currently, there is a bewildering multiplicity of electricity taxes that vary by states and across user categories, low for consumers, high for industrial users. Taxes levied by the states vary from 0 per cent to 25 per cent. ...

    Indian Express on Dec. 7, 2017, 12:50 a.m.

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    ...The reasons that agriculture matters are well-known: it provides sustenance to so many, food to all, and employment to many. In addition to these intrinsic positive reasons to invest in agriculture, there are other instrumental reasons: poor agricultural performance can lead to inflation, political and social disaffection, and restiveness— all of which can hold back the economy. There are intrinsic as well as instrumental reasons for prioritising agriculture. But we must be clear and honest about one important link. The Nobel Prize winner, Sir Arthur Lewis, showed that economic development is always and everywhere about getting people out of agriculture and of agriculture becoming over time a less important part of the economy (not in absolute terms but as a share of GDP). ...

    Indian Express on June 8, 2017, 5:58 p.m.

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    ...Upgrading data is everywhere an Alice-in-Wonderland-ish business of catching up with fast-changing reality, and the new indices are based on the Indian economy as it was six years ago, in 2011-12. More dynamic updating is therefore essential, an effort that is already and commendably under way. Much has been written about how the new data have been constructed. Here, I want to focus on their consequences, in particular for the national income accounts (NIA) estimates that will come out later this month. Examining these consequences is important, because the new data have the potential to affect our assessment of the macroeconomy, and thereby our view of the appropriate macro policy stance. Start with the implications for the NIA. 1. The discrepancy between NIA and IIP manufacturing data will narrow: Ever since the new NIA methodology was adopted there has been a puzzling divergence between the robust NIA estimates of manufacturing performance and the weaker IIP data. ...

    Live Mint on May 25, 2017, 4:52 a.m.

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    ...The actual rate structure has already become overly complicated. Now, it is time for damage limitation. After the constitutional amendment bill that midwifed it, and with the passage of the four laws that have given it elaborate flesh and substance, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has entered its last and critical phase: The determination of the GST’s rate structure. Late last year, there was agreement on five broad GST slabs: 0 (the exempted category), 5, 12, 18, and 28 per cent; there was also agreement that cesses — to finance possible compensation to the states — would be levied on certain demerit goods (tobacco and related products, aerated beverages, luxury cars etc). Now is the moment of truth when items will be assigned to the different GST slabs and the exact amounts of the cesses will be decided. I discuss below some key issues with recommendations on the desirable course of action. A few general points must be highlighted at the outset. ...

    Indian Express on April 4, 2017, 12:53 a.m.

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    ...Late last year, there was agreement on five broad GST slabs: 0 (the exempted category), 5%, 12%, 18%, and 28%; there was also agreement that cesses—to finance possible compensation to the states—would be levied on certain demerit goods (tobacco and related products, aerated beverages, luxury cars etc). Now is the moment of truth when items will be assigned to the different GST slabs and the exact amounts of the cesses will be decided. The actual rate structure has already become overly complicated. Now, it is time for damage limitation. I discuss below some key issues with recommendations on the desirable course of action. A few general points must be highlighted at the outset. ...

    Live Mint on April 4, 2017, 12:39 a.m.

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    ...After the steps taken to reduce black money and streamline election finance, the natural follow-up is to clean one of the biggest sources of black money — land and real estate. And the natural way to do that is to bring the supply of land and real estate (hereafter LARE) into the GST. At the moment, the GST law does not include LARE, but there is still a window to fix that in the GST Council meetings in the months ahead. Before we spell out the details, a few clarifications are in order to clear misconceptions and misinformation, some of which appear to be perpetrated deliberately by vested interests with a stake in preserving the murky status quo. The first misconception is that stamp duties will be brought into the GST. Many states have refused to entertain bringing LARE into the GST, fearing that their right to levy stamp duties on the sale of land — a big source of state revenues — will be taken away from them. This fear is unfounded. There is no such intention; stamp duties will remain untouched. The second misconception is that agricultural land will be taxed. ...

    Indian Express on March 3, 2017, 12:05 a.m.

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    ...At the risk of over-claiming and over-simplifying, it is probably fair to say that amongst 20th century economists there were (with apologies to Sir John Hicks) John Maynard Keynes, Paul Samuelson, Kenneth Arrow, and then everyone else. These were the three gods of the economics pantheon, all theorists, each dazzling in his own way, each creating and/or shaping a whole discipline or disciplines both in content but also in basic framework and methodology. Keynes created the discipline of short-run macroeconomics with profound implications for the conduct of macro-economic policy. ...

    Indian Express on Feb. 28, 2017, 12:15 a.m.

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    ...Every place on the map of India near the ocean is well-off. But the river brings darkness to India.” The Indian growth take-off since 1980 is associated with Peninsular India, the states that the narrator in astutely associated with better geography—being close to the ocean—which development experience has long confirmed as conferring special advantages. These states—Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh—have indeed grown faster and advanced more rapidly economically vis-à-vis others. As a result, they have also been a greater focus of research attention in comparison to other states—the “Other Indias”, the India of forests, of natural resources, and of “special category” status. They are interesting in their own right because they have conformed to other models of development. ...

    Live Mint on Feb. 14, 2017, 11:20 p.m.