Monday, May 26, 2008

Sack all our economists and refund all my taxes

Life isn’t getting any easier for us in India. Try telling me we’re living in one of the fastest growing emerging economies. This blog has been particularly skeptical of the inflation figures (7.82%) put out by our economists, promptly echoed in parliament by Finance Minister. All in a country headed by a veteran economist Dr.Manmhoan Singh. Now The Economist – may not be the last word, but is one journal that carries some shred of credibility amongst its vast reader base spread across the world – stands by me as it says "delays in data collection in India can mean big revisions to inflation... The latest wholesale price rate inflation rate might therefore be pushed up to 9-10 per cent," reports Business Standard.

There is no dearth for basic computing skills in India. India is a net exporter of IT services. Still our data collection methods are so archaic, full of holes and make believe. Could it be intentional to avoid being grilled in parliament by opposition benches? Or worse, do they believe what they say?

Hardly does it bode well in a country where 70% of people’s savings are through state run savings such as Provident Funds, Savings Bank, Term deposits, Post Office MIS yielding 8% returns. And a 10% inflation means they lose 2% of their savings with every passing year. In India, prices are rising much faster partly because food accounts for a bigger chunk of our Consumer Price Index and so the hit is felt way below the belt more by the poor millions. Banning futures trading in several commodities may help cap inflation and public rant. But letting prices rise is a far better way to reward farmers than waiving loans of $16 billion owed by the rich among them to the banks.

The least the government can do is, I repeat, refund all my taxes. Last thing I want is my money going to enrich another loan dodging farmer :-)

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