Q.1) An accessible post-COVID-19 world is one that will deliver justice to the disabled population. Comment (250 words)
Why this question?
In the wake of the COVID-19 and the lockdown, the already arduous quest for health, safety, and security for many sections has been exacerbated by a lack of accessibility.
Mention a study, “Locked Down and Left Behind”
- Vulnerability of certain sections during crisis
- The plight of persons with disabilities during the pandemic
- Financial stability, access to essential items, adequate accommodation, and availability of healthcare
- Further reduction in access to services etc
- Mention how inclusive planning will help provide better accessibility for these sections
- Education and awareness
- Accessibility laws and regulations
- Reducing stigma
Without the accessibility, the path towards Sustainable Development Goals realization and universal health coverage will remain a distant goal.
Q.2) One nation One ration card is a solution to the problem of exclusion to ensure food security.Examine.
Why in news: With the economic crisis continuing on the one hand and the health system crumbling under the burden of rising COVID-19 cases on the other, it is clear that it will take a long time for things to get back to “normal”.
- Introduced with the need for food security during the pandemic.
- Define One nation One ration card.
- Discuss the need and significance of it
- Then discuss, challenges which are involved.
Suggest way ahead : such as universalisation of PDS.
Q.3) On the third anniversary of passage of GST bill in the Parliament, its promise is mostly unfulfilled. Was something wrong in the original design, or has it failed in its implementation? Critically analyse.
Why this question?
- Launched on 1 July 2017, GST is celebrating its 3rd Anniversary.
Introduction to the answer:
- Brief info about GST
Body: Achievements so far: The GST was expected to raise efficiency and lower final prices, a goal which it has achieved partially.
- Taxes compliance: It stopped a cascade of taxes upon taxes which pushed up costs all along supply chains.
- Easy compliance: The GST put an end to much of the earlier compliance problems for businesses.
- Tax evasion reduced: GST removed check posts at state borders, and put a closure on cross-border tax arbitrage.
- Input benefits: Since the GST was only applicable to value addition, many enterprises have gained from tax credits for taxes already paid on inputs.
- The GST Council functions quite democratically, meets often, and takes reasonably fair and quick decisions.
Failures so far:
- Non simplicity
- Still “one nation many taxes”
- No single slab rate
- The bureaucratic tinkering with rates
- Relatively high rates
- The anti-profiteering authority
- Inverted duties
- No higher growth, nor tax buoyancy, nor much lower prices for products and services, which was a key GST promise.
- The GSTR-3B form is a makeshift arrangement for reconciliation, but a more robust long-term solution is needed.
- The E-way bill, designed for frictionless inter-state commerce, is still far from functioning smoothly.
- Large discrepancy between GST filing and final returns which points to systemic flaws.
- Threshold turnover: The fact that a large number of businesses below a threshold turnover have been exempted compounds the problem of a fractured tax system.
- Mythical “revenue neutral rate", or RNR: Since everything was pegged to this rate, the entire GST system drifted far above the 12% rate envisaged in the original tax reform reports of 2001-02.
- Delayed compensation promised to states: A uniform and rosy rate of 14% growth in GST revenues for the first five years was a serious error.
- Restructuring of taxation would affect fiscal calculations. Already there is a lot of fiscal pressure due to Covid-19 crisis.
- Alcohol and petroleum: The states remain addicted to special levies on these to fill their coffers. It creates hindrances in achieving single GST slab.
Conclusion: At a time when the economy needs a massive fiscal stimulus, it would be advisable to cut the median GST rate to 12%, widen the tax net to include petrol, diesel and electricity, correct the inverted duties, and remove the multiplicity of slabs. This would be the best way to celebrate three years of GST.