Economists and Analysts play safe
Letter to BS: Economists and analysts more often than not play safe
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December 24, 2019
Playing with slowdown numbers
This refers to the article "Addressing the Great Slowdown" (Business Standard, December 24). The eminent economists, quoting facts and figures, have argued forcefully against (a) manipulating budgetary figures to hide uncomfortable fiscal deficits, (b) provision of additional fiscal stimulus, (c) bringing down individual income tax rates, (d) raising GST rates and (e) blaming GST for the slowdown when root causes lie elsewhere.
While the don'ts prescriptions look laudable, in the do's list, the authors seem to be extra cautious and relied only on conventional first-aid remedies like putting bad loans in isolation wards (two 'bad' banks are suggested) and providing incentives to participants.
The reluctance of economists and media analysts to even consider options like levying agriculture income tax, exploiting the possibility of mainstreaming the idle unaccounted domestic gold stock (estimated at 24,000 tonnes or upwards) and forcing the rich who have lakhs of crores stashed in foreign banks to come clean by paying taxes and legitimizing their assets abroad is intriguing.
M G Warrier, Mumbai