Ties with Russia
This refers to ‘Why India cannot afford to alienate Russia’ (June 28). The Soviet Union was seen as a trustworthy partner against Western hegemony in the immediate post–Cold War period.
The geostrategic winds have shifted significantly in recent years, suggesting that India might want to reconsider the benefits of close ties with Russia. Most glaringly, Russia and one of India’s top rivals, China, now maintain a robust strategic partnership. Russia is also reaching out to India’s other top adversary, Pakistan. The unfolding Ukrainian tragedy has introduced a new era in international relations.
It goes without saying that it is the US that is most likely to bolster India’s future as a great power. It is not going to be easy for New Delhi to maintain its balancing act in the future as Washington hardens its position further.
It is inevitable that during this time of diplomatic and strategic uncertainty, New Delhi needs to be ready to radically redefine its relationship with Moscow.
N Sadhasiva Reddy
This is with reference to ‘A case for extending GST compensation period’ (June 28). The government has prolonged the time for levy of GST compensation cess by nearly four years till March 31, 2026.
The levy of cess was to end on June 30 but the GST Council decided to extend it till March 2026 to repay the loans taken in the last two fiscal years to make up for the shortfall in revenue collection.
The extension of the levy of compensation cess, although expected, will continue to impose a burden on the impacted businesses, especially sectors like automotive, which need to be encouraged as it is one of the sectors that has a multiplier effect on GDP and employment.
P Sundara Pandian
Social security for gig workers
‘NITI Aayog moots social security cover, benefits for gig workers’ (June 28) is welcome news for gig workers. Despite being a critical cog in last mile delivery in the supply chain, gig workers are neither paid suitably nor are their working conditions good. And in their pursuit of gaining bigger market share some companies penalise workers even for a five-minute delay in delivery.
These gig workers put their life and others at risk in the process of ensuring timely delivery. Social security cover will surely create a better working environment for these workers.
Hopefully companies will also take a leaf out of this development and provide them suitable compensation.
GST regime needs fine-tuning
Five years have gone since the country embraced the GST regime, but it has yielded mixed results. While there have been several discernible improvements on the tax administration front, along with ostensible benefits such as greater uniformity in rates across all States and faster movement of goods across State borders, rationalisation of the tax structure still remains a work in progress.
States have surrendered their tax sovereignty to help the country move to the ‘One Nation, One Tax’ regime, and their grouse about a discernible fall in revenues is genuine and needs to be addressed with a seriousness it truly deserves. It is time the Centre and States work together to achieve the revenue neutral rate of 15.5 per cent.
Curb rupee volatility
This refers to ‘The rupee’s decline — need to curb volatility of capital flows’ (June 28). The declining value of the rupee is causing myriad problems for the economy, especially in respect of the revenue and current account deficits.
The widening current account deficit, due to capital outflows exceeding the inflows, is detrimental to the stability of the domestic currency. The RBI must undertake measures such as selling dollars to prevent volatility in the value of the currency, and use open market operations to suck out excess liquidity in the market and stabilise the price level.