Raise taxes on super rich in India to stimulate economy: Joseph Stiglitz to govt

American economist and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz advised the Indian government to look at the possibility of raising tax on the super-rich class to raise resources for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, if the government fails to pool in the required funds.

According to Business Standard, while addressing an interaction organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry’s (Ficci’s) West Bengal state council, Joseph Stiglitz said the Indian government should not shy away from spending to control the pandemic and help the vulnerable sections. “If you can’t get resources, one way of dealing with it is, raise taxes on the very rich – you have a lot of billionaires in India — and if you spend that money well, it actually stimulates the economy,” he said.

There have been recent debates on levying COVID tax on the super rich in India. On the Centre's call for 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' (Self- reliant India), the noted economist said too much self reliance will lower the standard of living as a lot of products, including vaccines, are imported.

He also said that the government spending has to be well targeted and assist the most vulnerable to maximise the gains despite the budgetary constraints. Stiglitz also said India and the US did not handle the COVID-19 situation well. Stiglitz criticised the US for widening the divide of racism and income, and "similar divisive politics in India" that will undermine the society and economy.

Meanwhile, the US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 7,455,184 and 210,155, respectively, according to the CSSE. India comes in second place in terms of cases at 66,85,082, while the country's death toll soared to 1,03,569.

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