DSC’s maiden speech in the Rajya Sabha
First of all, I would like to congratulate the Government of India, the Honorable Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi and the Honorable Finance Minister, Shri Arun Jaitley for passing the historic GST bill. I would especially like to congratulate the Hon’ble Finance Minister for his efforts in not letting the bill die down due to political pressure and bringing this bill to the operational level. I would also like to congratulate all the states who have extended their cooperation towards the passage of this bill. My gratitude also goes out to the opposition who have admitted that a unique experiment has been done through the GST Council.
Ever since I joined the House and even during the past two days when these discussions on GST bill have been going on, I have heard other esteemed members speak about the welfare of poor people, how the common man should be benefited and how taxes should be charged to the rich – topics which the country has been hearing since the last 70 years. Let me present some facts about what has happened to our Economy and the poor people in the country during these past 70 years:
- 2000 years ago, at 1 A.D., our country’s contribution to global GDP was 32%.
- However, in 1950, at the time of independence, our country’s contribution fell to 4.2%.
- Similarly, our contribution to Global production and Global Trade also started diminishing during the British Raj, signaling the end of the golden era.
- In 1950, India’s manufacturing contribution in comparison to the global market was only 1.7%
- In international trade, our contribution during the British Raj was 20% which has since dropped to 1.4%
We can understand that the British wanted to rule this country for many years and export India’s wealth to their own nation, which is why they hampered our manufacturing growth and increased the taxes. But what surprises me is what happened after Independence. Let me present some more stastitics:
- The GDP which was 4.2% in 1950 reduced to 3.2% in 1980 and has since increased to 7.5% – 8% in 2015.
- Manufacturing which was 1.7% in 1950, increased to 2.3% in 1980 and in 2015 it further increased to 4%.
- The country’s share in Global Trade which was 1.3% in 1950, reduced to 0.5% in 1980 which was less than one percent and has now increased to 1.7%.
- If we compare these figures with the increase in population since 1950, then the growth of our nation is in the negative rather than the positive.
I informed the House that between 2000 and 2015, our country has increased its wealth to 2.23 trillion US Dollars. If we do the division, we see that just 1% of the population has got 58% of the wealth, while 9% of the population has got 23% of the wealth and the remaining 90% of the population has got only 19% of the wealth. This shows that the poor people have become poorer while the rich people have become richer.
Due to our existing laws, the top 10% have become richer. When we think of taxing the rich people, it doesn’t have such a great impact since they also get tax rebates and are also aware of methods to evade tax. According to me, this disproportionate distribution of wealth, as well as other issues, needs to be corrected. I feel that GST is the first step in that direction. To reduce poverty and work for the welfare of the nation as a whole, the Government will need to work on more such positive initiatives.”
In my maiden speech, I also quoted our former Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi ji’s speech that he made on 28th Dec 1985 during the Centenary celebrations of the Congress party.
In his speech, Rajiv ji recollected what our another former Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi ji said. Indira ji’s flagship program of ‘Bees Sutri Karyakram’ was a phenomenon as great as GST bill but the system failed her and also the revolutionary step.
I feel that whether it is Direct taxes or Indirect taxes, at the end of the day, the general public have to bear the burden. Our Tax structure should be made in such a way that there would be no difficulty for people to pay the taxes. ‘Out of the box’ and a great tax structure is the need of the hour. Today, we are discussing GST and how other countries in the world have launched it. This makes it important that we make a tax structure which is unique and becomes a model for rest of the world in future.
Due to lack of Ease of Doing Business in our country, there is a lot of indirect tax that is born out of corruption, we should also address it. In the time to come, we need to think beyond GST, start a new taxation system & not just replicate the global ones