It is heartening to see that the PMO has turned my letter into a petition and directed the Ministry of Finance to 'take action as appropriate'. I believe these 32 steps can prevent profiteering by banks, tackle tax evasion and help Indian industry.
(PRWEB) July 15, 2014
The Honorable Prime Minister of India, Mr Narendra Modi's office (PMO) has replied to a letter against profiteering by banks from a Mumbai based creative professional and turned it into a petition. The PMO has further directed the Ministry of Finance to 'take action as appropriate' according to Ground Report. The letter, written by Vikkramm Chandirramani, outlined 32 areas mainly focusing on banks, taxation and government policies that are making life difficult for entrepreneurs. The full version of this letter is on his personal blog, http://www.vikkrammchandirramani.com.
To quote Vikkramm Chandirramani, "There are quite a few banks in India but because there are such strong entry barriers, the banks that exist are profiteering at the expense of their customers. When a customer approaches a private bank to make a pay order, typically most private banks charge a fee based on the value of the pay order. If one wants a single pay order made of the value of Rs.50,00,000, a bank fee of Rs.15,000 is quite common at some private banks. It takes as much time on the part of the bank to make a pay order of Rs.500 as it does to make a pay order of Rs.50,00,000. Why should banks charge such an exorbitant fee when the funds used belong to the customer and it will take a junior employee barely five minutes to make the pay order?". Most banks in India charge fees based on the amount rather than the effort across a range of services including foreign exchange transactions, Real Time Gross Settlement, stock trading etc. Other policies of Indian banks relating to fixed deposits and giving loans also work against customers according to him.
While many areas such as crowdfunding, taxation and internet penetration find a mention in the letter, one of the most path breaking proposals is a way to deal with tax evasion across India. According to Vikkramm Chandirramani, there is a great deal of tax evasion in the restaurant industry. "Today a salaried person who has dinner out with his or her family often doesn't leave with the restaurant's bill because salaried individuals can't claim expenses when filing income tax returns. Restaurants often tear up or modify the bills to under-report sales. This causes losses of not only direct taxes but also indirect taxes such as VAT (Value added tax) and service tax. This has to be fixed. For this we need to encourage credit card usage. People are hesitant to use credit cards because of the interest rates on them which can be as high as 24% to 36% per annum. We need to bring this down to between 12% and 15%. If you can get a loan to buy a motorcycle at 15% per annum, why should you have to pay twice that much on your credit card usage if you postpone payments?" Talking about the overall impact of such a change he says, "Once this is implemented, millions of people will use credit cards. This means restaurants will no longer be able to tear up or modify bills. This translating into tax will mean more revenue to the government and better infrastructure. Besides credit can lead to an expansion in demand. The boom in the US during the 1950s and 60s was driven by consumption. We can have a similar consumption-led boom here. This will also mean an expansion of production and economies of scale will result in a lower cost of production. This will make our country more competitive in the international market. We will be better able to compete with Chinese goods within and outside our country. Right now our own markets are flooded with Chinese products".
Vikkramm Chandirramani has also appealed to Prime Minister to make life easier for entrepreneurs by making it easier to start up and shut down companies. He says "There are hundreds of thousands of companies that have stopped filing returns with the Registrar of Companies. There are over a million service tax registered assessees who do not pay service tax. We need to make it easier for people to do business. Cut the red tape. Let's have a partnership between the government and entrepreneurs instead of having them as adversaries of each other. The courts are clogged with lawsuits relating to taxation. We need path breaking steps for this! We also have a law that prevents salaried people from setting off business losses against their salary. This works against employed professionals who want to turn entrepreneurs. This must go."
Vikkramm Chandirramani says he believes in the economic vision of Mr Narendra Modi. "Gujarat has prospered so much under Modiji's rule. He has the economic vision which we really need our leader to have. This year's union budget has shown glimpses of the policies that will make it easier for the manufacturing industry. I'm hopeful that the Indian economy will soon be growing at a much faster rate. I'm very optimistic about the years to come."