The spectacularly horrible ‘Angel Tax’ runs the risk of crippling entrepreneurship in India
Oftentimes when reality in India does not match the image that is painted, one takes it as a part of life. But when the image, that is being painted, is backed up by speeches, programmes and promises, making it seem heavenly and when the reality is one of purgatory, one must start assuming that all that talk was just hollow. The latest instance of this was that of the Income Tax authorities running amuck, putting jobs and lives at risk, thanks to perverted thinking that was evident in their way of chasing start-ups for a grotesque ‘Angel Tax’. This has made all talk of ‘Digital India’, ‘Startup India’ and any progress in ease of doing business rankings sound hollow. Make no mistakes, the decision taken by income tax authorities to go after start-ups was, in the eyes of many, a far worse thing than a badly cropped Government report being used to fan the dying embers of a non-scam. The issue around ‘Angel Tax’ and the way the authorities have raised company coffers, will impact India long even after the Rafale fighter jets are delivered because it is a demonstration that India is not an investor or business-friendly. This, coupled with the Commerce Ministry’s outrageous clauses on e-commerce — clearly designed to help one particular corporate — the long-term impact on India can potentially be devastating.
It would be prudent for the Opposition to raise this issue because it goes to the core of the main problem of job creation. An issue that is real and one with constant references to oneself in the third person will not solve. Unfortunately it appears that young Mr Gandhi has put all his eggs in the Rafale basket and despite the help of conveniently foolish journalists and sycophants, the Rafale issue is not cutting ice with the voting electorate. The decidedly stupid ‘Angel tax’ and its impact on the start-up economy and on jobs, however, will definitely have an impact on investors and voters in the technology centres of India. The Opposition should attack this stupid tax but given that they are beholden to post-modern communist ideals of wealth redistribution, much like those in power, one can only assume that between the ruling party, Opposition and the income tax authorities, there is a determination to drive the Indian economy back into the stone age. At least we will not need Rafale fighters if that is the case.