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Is the Value Added Tax Reform in India Poverty-Improving? An Analysis of Data from Two Major States


  • Ajitava Raychaudhuri
  • Sudip Kumar Sinha
  • Poulomi Roy


The Value Added Tax (VAT) was introduced in India in place of Sales Tax, taking effect in April 1, 2005. These taxes are in the domain of different state governments within the country's federal set up. Although VAT is widely acclaimed to be a better system than the sales tax on grounds of efficiency in tax collection, no study has been undertaken to assess the impact of this reform measure on social equity. This paper addresses this need with the use of concentration curves and consumption dominance curves of various orders. The simulations were done on two major states in India, namely Maharashtra and West Bengal, using National Sample Survey Unit Level data for the 55th round. The results show that the reform is largely pro-poor, although there are ways to improve it with respect to some items predominantly consumed by the relatively poorer groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Ajitava Raychaudhuri & Sudip Kumar Sinha & Poulomi Roy, 2007. "Is the Value Added Tax Reform in India Poverty-Improving? An Analysis of Data from Two Major States," Working Papers PMMA 2007-18, PEP-PMMA.
  • Handle: RePEc:lvl:pmmacr:2007-18

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sami Bibi & Jean-Yves Duclos, 2007. "Poverty-decreasing indirect tax reforms: Evidence from Tunisia," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(2), pages 165-190, April.
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    More about this item


    Value added tax; Marginal tax reform; public distribution system; concentration curve; Lorenz curve; marginal efficiency cost of funds; consumption dominance;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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