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Govt should think about taxing rich farmers, says Former RBI governor Bimal Jalan

LiveMint logoLiveMint 21-05-2017 PTI

New Delhi: Former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan on Sunday favoured taxing rich farmers earning above a certain threshold, without hurting the interests of those with small farms. He also pitched for a rating upgrade for India due to a number of steps taken by the government. Talking about the controversial issue of taxing farm income, Jalan noted the importance of agriculture and small farms in the Indian situation.

“The... question is that supposing you have large farms and you have an income from those farms which say exceeds certain high levels of income, then you can think about taxing that high level of income,” he told PTI in an interview. Jalan, however, added that a very large proportion of the population has small farms and we should not do anything which can hurt them.

Jalan, under whose watch India weathered the Asian currency crisis, said low inflation and high growth are the main achievements of the NDA government but it would need to do more to reduce corruption and reform the complex administrative system. “Most important part of what has been achieved is reflected, for example, in high rate of growth in last three years and also low inflation,” he said. “Measures have been taken by the current government to reduce corruption and complexity of administrative system.

But naturally if you look ahead, then a lot more (needs) to be done, there is no doubt,” he added. On India’s banking system, the former RBI Governor said, “So far as India’s banking system is concerned, on the whole, India’s banking system is strong in my view.” Asked why India was being denied a rating upgrade even as growth and fundamentals have improved, Jalan said the country’s rating must be upgraded by global rating agencies because of a number of measures taken by the Modi government.

Recently, Fitch cited weak fiscal position to keep India’s sovereign rating unchanged at ‘BBB-’, the lowest investment grade with stable outlook assigned to the country more than a decade ago.

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