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Mainstream, VOL LII No 12, March 15, 2014

Economic Views of Arvind Kejriwal

Saturday 15 March 2014, by Bharat Dogra

communication

All those who are striving to search for genuine alternatives to the capitalist path of development should be grateful to Arvind Kejriwal for very honestly and frankly informing them that the AAP party led by him does not provide this alternative.

The reference here is what Arvind Kejriwal said while addressing the National Council Meet of the Confederation of Indian Industry in Delhi on February 17. As reported in The Indian Express the next day, Kejriwal said: “Government has no business doing business, it only has to govern. Business should all be held by the private sector.”

Also, as The Indian Express reported, “Kejriwal clarified his party is against crony capitalism not capitalism.” Kejriwal “praised industrialists as the real engines of growth and appealed to them to become party to the revolution”.

The Times of India also reported (on the same event), “Mr Kejriwal said we are not against capitalism, but we are against crony capitalism.... He said it was not the business of government to do business, but rather focus on governance and create enabling policies. He listed three factors that would encourage business including simplifying taxes and processes, creating an enabling policy environment and reducing litigation... Underlining the ‘extortionist’ attitude of the UPA-led Centre, Kejriwal said government should reduce its role in several sectors but play the role of a regulator to ensure that private companies follow rules.”

In an interview published in The Economic Times on the same day (February 18), Kejriwal has said: “The government has no business to be in business. Our job is to provide safety to citizens, a good judicial system and a corruption free environment. After that it is the job of the business community to do business.” On his business related agenda, Kejriwal said: “AAP wants to do two things. One is to resist the entire procedures and administrative laws and remove obstacles in the way of setting up new businesses. And secondly, we want to set up a positive environment so that a trader or industrialist can run his business honestly.”

When asked about his views on taxing the rich, Arvind Kejriwal told The Economic Times: ‘Our tax slabs for the rich are one of the lowest in the world, however, I don’t think it needs to be raised. Thirty per cent is sufficient, but it needs to be enforced properly. I think we can afford to remove some exemptions, reliefs and rebates, as they are given at the behest of lobbies. If we rationalise this then tax rates for the rich can come down even more.’

Summarising these views, Kejriwal clearly says that

• There is nothing inherently wrong in capitalism as such; the capitalist path is OK.

• The role of the public sector needs to be curtailed further; almost all industry and business should be in private hands.

• While rationalising tax structure there is a case for further reducing the tax rates for the rich.

Bharat Dogra

C-27, Raksha Kunj, Paschim Vihar,

New Delhi-110063 (Tel: 2525303)