India Uncut

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Sunday, February 27, 2005

A nation divided by indirect taxes

Gurcharan Das writes in the Times of India:
There is really one paramount issue that concerns us all, and we should remember it tomorrow when the finance minister gets up to announce the nation's Budget. Fifty-seven years after Independence India is sadly not a common market where goods and services move smoothly. If Bollywood, cricket and Hinglish unite us, our irrational system of indirect taxes divides us. Anyone who sells a product across India lives through the nightmare of state sales taxes, central sales tax, entry tax, turnover tax, service tax, excise, octroi — all cascading to make us perhaps the highest indirect taxed nation in the world. Octroi is the worst. Today a truck takes 40 hours to deliver goods from Delhi to Bombay. Of this, only 24 hours are spent driving; the remaining 16 hours are spent avoiding or negotiating bribes at octroi nakas.

Das, the author of India Unbound, is not one of those columnists who highlights problems without suggesting solutions. Read the full piece to find out what his remedy is.
amit varma, 12:29 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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