Of budgets and taxes…

A lot of talk about money today.

India’s budget is to be announced tomorrow. Personally, the only thing the middle class used to look for (and still does) were tax cuts and better allowances. However, the biggest elephant in the room (besides the BSP) is taxation on agro income. Which does not seem to be on the agenda in the near, or far horizon.

But farmers are annadaata you say. Why tax the poor farmer?

Tax on the agro sector would work in the same way as it does for any other sector. Tax slabs, with the lower ones not being taxed, and the higher ones paying their fair share. So what is so fancy about it that no one wants to bell the cat (or the oxen)?

There can be no argument for zero agro tax in this day and age. Annadaatas aren’t giving anyone free food. The sector is plagued by inefficiencies caused by fractured holdings, heavily subsidized inputs and below average outputs. The middlemen take a large cut, without putting in even 10% of the effort, and the poorest of farmers suffer the most. The government buys their produce at a minimum support price at the end of it.

Any business that makes losses even after subsidized inputs and guaranteed purchase of the outputs at a fixed price, ought to be shut down, isn’t it?

Closer to where I live, the government is much less prone to such machinations. The year started with a revolutionary idea of a 4.5 day workweek, and a change to the 50-year old Friday holiday. Today, corporate tax was announced.

While, as a business owner myself, and like other business owners, I may not be very enthusiastic about tax, I understand it to be a necessary step in moving forward, and that is ok. But what strikes me is the way unpopular decisions are made here. To the point, once decided and done with it. And this has nothing to do with political theories. It has to do with intent and the ability to look far beyond.

Lets see what Budget 2022 brings. See you tomorrow!