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GST represents one tax, one market, one India, says Arvind Subramanian

A few months ahead of the incorporation of the much-awaited Goods and Services Tax (GST), Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian revealed that internal trade has drastically improved; this being a boon to the country's progress in the wake of GST.

Addressing a session at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Ahmedabad on Friday, Subramanian presented results of a survey that was conducted in various regions of India analysing tax collection, trade statistics, urban density and the need for a Universal Basic Income.

"In spite of Octroi and other tax barriers across states, movement of goods in India is going well. Trade within India is 56 per cent. This goes to show that trade barriers have not affected statistics much," stated Subramanian.

Furthermore, the Chief Economic Advisor revealed that according to statistics, India has managed to overtake China, as the latter's economic growth 'plummeted post the financial crisis'.

However, Subramanian emphasised on the importance of timely tax collection, stating that the state governments need to impose stricter penalties on deferring tax payment.

"The survey done in Bengaluru and Jaipur has showed only five to 15 per cent of the total tax to be collected. States need to be less lenient with regards to tax matters," said Subramanian.

"One of India's biggest concerns at the minute is the growing disparity among states. Globally, statistics from the past 25 to 30 years has revealed that poorer countries are now catching up with developed countries, thus diversifying standard of living. However, within the states, a division of growth is still prevalent," added Subramanian.

Highlighting the proposal to implement a minimum basic income for Indians, Subramanian said that the implications are being monitored and will be discussed as and when a consensus is made. "The idea of having a universal basic income has garnered a lot of attention, both nationally and internationally," added Subramanian.

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