Budget 2022: taxpayers should have a say in the decision-making process of local organizations


Taxpayers should have a say in the decision-making process of local bodies: Prof Nidhi Sharma | Photo credit: PTI

The 2022 budget will be presented in the midst of the third wave of the pandemic. Unlike other economies, the Indian economy is able to perform quite well, only thanks to a quick policy response and an intense vaccination campaign. The Indian economy has been able to maintain the momentum of growth thanks to the immense public expenditure on the one hand and the new standard of vaccination, disinfection and wearing of masks on the other.

Factors such as global inflation, rising ocean freights and global supply chain disruption are increasing the costs of imported machinery and raw materials for manufacturing industries.

Tax incentives for industrial clusters and industrial parks are needed if India is to become a strong partner in global supply chains. Startups are a buzzword today, young people with some work experience should be given enough tax concessions to access finance, raw materials, etc., especially in the non-IT sector, that is- ie the basic manufacturing sector.

The sporting goods and apparel industries can be the main drivers of export earnings. Improving skills through ITIs and work discipline of the workforce are essential. The concept of flexible working hours should be promoted even in the public sector.

Sustainable development is a topic of global debate. Green energy, waste management, biofuels are emerging areas in both urban and rural areas, which will create both jobs and income. They need sufficient tax incentives.

There is a need to introduce multitasking skills in higher education curricula such as disaster management, multilingual translation, first aid, self-defense, yoga and meditation, etc.

The time of the pandemic has had negative effects on books, stationery and the printing industry. Smartphones and digital apps have instead replaced offline reading and studying. There is an immense and urgent need for fiscal stimulus for this sector. In fact, the pandemic has had negative effects on job-creating industries, both in organized and unorganized sectors. Even the nature of demand has undergone a change.

There is also an urgent need to provide convenient and seamless digital and banking services for people with disabilities and older people. They fail to cope with the dynamic paradigm shift of technology.

Fares for rail, air and road passenger transport can be increased provided that the services are punctual and of better quality. This will help rejuvenate the tourism sector. Increased crop diversification and cold storage are some of the important linkages to promote agricultural exports, which need fiscal stimulus.

Excessive use of smart phones by young children and adolescents should be monitored and sanctioned. It is necessary to develop innovations in indoor games and sports (offline) and radio programs for them.

Taxing e-commerce businesses and OTT platforms can be a good source of revenue. Income tax does not need changing as the pandemic has reduced spending on several outdoor activities, instead indirect taxes need to be revised downward on certain essential consumer items.

Again, taxpayers should be treated as privileged citizens. They should be honoured, privileged in reservations / queues. There should be active participation in the decision-making process of local bodies. Identity cards can be issued to them according to income tax categories.

Generating income through gig business should be subject to net income tax and gig workers should also benefit from various social security provisions.

The insurance sector must be strengthened to protect the population against the unexpected. Finally, local organizations must be motivated to explore new ways to resource and conserve resources and the environment.

Dr. Nidhi Sharma is a guest contributor. The opinions expressed are personal.


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