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GST Funds Must be Given to Local Bodies: Former Finance Secretary Vijay Kelkar

PUNE Former finance secretary Vijay Kelkar, on Monday, mooted the idea that India should progress towards a single GST rate, which will enable domestic industry to be globally competitive.

Kelkar, addressing a gathering of students, intellectuals, economists, businessmen and policy makers at the MCCIA headquarters on Senapati Bapat road on Monday, picked 10 per cent as his fixed GST rate of choice.

Kelkar was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of his book, ‘In Service of the Republic: The art and science of economic policy ’ co-authored by economist Ajay Shah.

Kelkar said that the GST revenues must be shared with local bodies and also given to mayors to carry out local development in their municipal limits.

“Every citizen is a tax payer and wants betterment of civic amenities and services. It is not a largesse, but the right of municipal bodies to get their due share. Once their due shares are given, it would further lead to democratic strengthening of local bodies. The country cannot progress without local bodies getting their GST shares,” Kelkar said.

Ajay Shah in his remarks said that state must be made accountable so that it serves people and humanity at large. “The economic problems of the country must be considered as a problem of humanity. Once, this attitude is adopted , then ways and means can be devised to make hard problems easy,” he said.

Shah also said that government organisations must prove themselves, before significant money or coercive power is placed in their hands.

Shah stated that the private sector is fearful of the arbitrary power wielded by officials and does not speak up. “There is no voice, but an exit in the form of reduced investment,” he added.

Present at the book launch-cum-speech were businessman Naushad Forbes, Raghunath Mashelkar, and MCCIA director-general Prashant Girbane.

Source: Hindustan Times

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