In the recent past, the Indian economy witnessed two major events — demonetisation, followed by goods and services tax (GST). Demonetisation
made consumer demand invisible as people lost their ability to buy for a period of time.
Before the economy could return to normal, GST
was enforced. Again, it hindered supply of goods and services as producers themselves are not yet clear about the process of implementation. GST
has pushed the economy into chaos. Even a week after its implementation, the market is unable to estimate commodity-specific change in prices. Small businesses are hiring tax professionals to make the transition to GST, which is adding to their cost. Semi-urban and rural business set-ups are yet to find a way out.
The government should know the economy right from its roots. No constructive idea works without strategic execution, more so if the aim is to change the lives of 1.3 billion people. With 85 per cent of cash back in circulation, the exercise of exposing a cash-based economy to the world of digital transactions has turn out to be futile. Lack of infrastructure and awareness with a poor tech-push approach earlier failed the nationwide effort.
If the government does not want to make the same mistake with GST, it needs to take investors, producers and traders into confidence so that the product market is not distorted.
People’s quest for the recent reform needs to be immediately satiated with the help of the best possible medium of communication. It’s time to act.
Sagarika Mishra, Bhubaneswar
Letters can be mailed, faxed or e-mailed to:
The Editor, Business Standard
Nehru House, 4 Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg
New Delhi 110 002
All letters must have a postal address and telephone number