Extreme Wealth is not Personal Wealth by Shubha Tiwari SignUp
Extreme Wealth is not Personal Wealth
Prof. Shubha Tiwari Bookmark and Share

I liked what Azim Premji said at World Economic Summit at Davos. I especially liked the spirit in which he said these things. He talked about a country as poor as ours. There’s legitimacy in extra taxing the super rich. A man who leads by example, Premji said that the super rich need to cultivate a higher level of consciousness because extreme wealth is not personal wealth.

The context is of course the upcoming union budget. Many super rich have talked of widening the tax net and improving efficiency in tax collection. But they have failed to respond positively to the idea floated by some experts that time has come when the super rich ought to be taxed more. The gulf between economic levels in society is appalling. Premji went to say that extra taxing the super rich even makes good political sense. It’s a good example of moving out of one’s own self.

It makes good sense to read the mood of the public at large. To create a gulf between the haves and have-nots that touches unimaginable heights is very dangerous for any society and its general health. The scale of hunger, malnutrition, depravity, lack of sanitation systems, absence of civic amenities, broken public health system – the endless list of ‘lacunae’ is basically a direct threat to the well-being of the well-to-do sections of the society. Fortunately for the Indian government, the global mood is definitely in support of the move to extra tax the extra rich. France has of course gone a little bit too far whereas Obama is advocating a marginal rise in the tax for the highest economic strata. India can go for something in between.

It’s heartening that Premji has linked the move to consciousness. The twist to the discourse is typically Indian in spirit. What Premji has said is befitting an Indian soul. 

Certainly, this move has to come with a number of other corrective measures in Indian taxation collection system where the salaried class are squeezed to the maximum and business class have various ways to hide their actual income. But everything apart, Premji’s comment, its content, spirit and the context in which the comment has been made- all together deserve positive attention. 

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Comment I totally agree with the views expressed in the write-up by Professor Shubha Tiwai. I can say with my personal experience that rich persons and Politicians hide their wealth with all possible skill, while a salaried person honestly fills his/her income tax return.Secondly After a ceratin income every one should be included in tax-payers' group. We should never be happy in not paying tax, but be glad in joining the group of tax-payers.

Shailbala Misra
01/27/2013 23:48 PM

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