India is yet to provide open access to income tax statistics, French economist Thomas Piketty said on Monday.
“Note that I am still waiting for open access to Indian income tax statistics,” Piketty told PTI, while referring to an earlier assurance given by chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian.
In a panel discussion at the Jaipur Literature Festival early this year, Subramanian had blamed past governments for non-availability of tax data and had assured that the present government was working to fix it.
Piketty, known for his work on wealth and inequality, said access to income statistics was publicly promised to him by Subramanian at the Jaipur festival in January but nothing has happened since then despite his “many requests”.
“If and when I finally receive data, I would be happy to draw lessons about inequality dynamics and economic growth in India,” he said.
India used to publish the All India Income Tax Statistics until 2000, when it was discontinued.
“The lack of transparency about income and financial statistics makes it very difficult to have an informed democratic discussion about economic policy in India,” he said.
Piketty, author of the best-seller ‘Capital in the twenty first century’, is a professor at the Paris School of Economics.