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One nation, one tax, one market? Harmful impact on rural poor, small businesses

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* 

High inflation, growing unemployment and depreciating rupee are three fundamental issues faced by Indian economy today. The educational and health infrastructure is falling apart. Human development is in the bottom of the nadir. The Modi government has no plans to take responsibility to navigate Indian economy away from these crises.
It is passing on its responsibility on Indian people by reckless hiking of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on food and other essential items. This nationwide rent seeking activities in terms of high taxation on goods and services that are part of the rent-seeking process.
It will have devastating impact on poor and malnourished population, small businesses and rural poor. Such a policy will help corporates and it is going to push poor people into a regime of inescapable hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity. Hindutva is transforming India into a rent seeking market society, where welfare and social loss is immanent.
The GST hike will have negative impact on all Indians and on all sectors of Indian economy. Taxing small producers, businesses and poor consumers are opposed to the idea of economic growth and development as it creates conditions for declining productivity, economic stagnation and inefficiency.
"One Nation, One Tax, One Market" policy slogan by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has failed to understand the economic diversities in India in terms of its culture of local production and consumption. "One Nation, One Tax, One Market" policy helps to create conditions, where India becomes increasing dominated by few crony capitalists affiliated with Hindutva.
The international experience of mass rent seeking economics in developed countries show that big corporates grab larger share of the wealth without producing any socially meaningful goods and services. The income inequality is a result of rent seeking market society, where wealthy taxpayers gain. It marginalises the poor masses.
The centralised project of Hindutva dominance over politics and corporate dominance over Indian economy will squeeze all creative potentials and labour power of the people in terms of their livelihoods, productive powers, innovation, and other income generation abilities. Hindutva is a primarily a cultural project to uphold the economic interests of the higher class and higher caste population in India.
The Hindutva government led by Narendra Modi and his party, BJP cares only for electoral victory to uphold its crony capitalist classes. The BJP government does not care for people and the country. The religious mobilisation of people in the name of cultural nationalism is a political strategy that serves the corporates at the cost of lives and livelihoods of Indians.
The market-oriented Hindutva economics creates a tax regime on the masses and a pervasive rent seeking government and a corporatized security state that destroys welfare state in India. It is a well-known fact that mass rent seeking society promotes regimes of bribery, corruption, smuggling and black-market. These are foundations for major revenue loss for a developing country like India.
A mass rent seeking state and government led by Hindutva shows that it has failed to create new wealth by generating mass employment or expanding innovation and economic growth. The sent seeking Hindutva economics is fundamentally inefficient and short-sighted because it reduces productive power of the economy causes revenue loss and increases economic inequalities.
Hindutva alibi Hindu nationalism, economic growth and development, and India first projects are steps towards cultural, economic and political genocide of constitutional democracy and citizenship rights in India. The centralisation economic project of Hindutva is the politics of dominance over production and consumption; the hike of GST and other forms of taxation is just a means in this direction.
It seeks to transform India into a rent seeking market society, where strongman economics and vigilante politics is normalised as an integral part of everyday lives. Such a strategy helps both Hindutva and their crony capitalist friends.
Hindutva obsession with market dominated economy for economic growth and its politics of dominance must end for any form of security and sustainability of livelihoods of the marginalised masses in India.
The ideas of progress, peace and prosperity are alien to Hindutva politics. Therefore, GST hike on food and other essential commodities and services are neither hurting their human sentiments nor their ideological politics. Their economic policies are directly linked with the immediate gain of their corporate friends, who fund their electoral juggernauts and support the activities of the hate factory called RSS.
The rent seeking market society dominated by corporate oligarchy in alliance with reactionary Hindutva politics put India and Indians into an indefinite darkness. The securitised corporate states and governments have never worked for the welfare of their citizens. It will not do so in India under Hindutva government. The defeat of Hindutva is central to the peace, prosperity and progress of India and Indians.
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*University of Glasgow, UK

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