Economist says India-Iran tax agreement, an eye-opener for others



Brussels, Sept 4, IRNA -- The recent decision by Iran to abolish the 33 percent work permit tax for Indian business houses opens a new chapter in Indo-Iranian economic cooperation, commented a Brussels-based economist. 

"This agreement is an eye opener to other countries who are trying to take protectionist measure to India`s prominence in the software sector and services," Sunil Prasad told IRNA in an interview Thursday. Prasad, who is also the President of the Global Organisation of Persons of Indian Origin (GOPIO) in Belgium, said by abolishing the Tax "Iran has opened a new chapter in the economic cooperation between the two countries."

"This will enhance further scientific and cultural activities and India and Iran could become a partner in progress. I hope that other countries will take some lesson out of this agreement and follow what Iran has done."

This decision was announced by the Iranian Labour and Social Affairs Minister Safdar Husseini to the Indian Labour Minister Sahib Singh Verma at a reception meeting organized by Indo-Iranian Chamber of Commerce last week in New Delhi. While Iran has opened a new chapter by abolishing the tax for Indians, there are countries where Indian community as a whole are subject to discrimination and human right abuses, said Prasad who works for an international organization in Brussels. The GOPIO-Belgium which looks after the interest of the Non Resident Indians (NRIs) and the People of Indian Origin (PIOs) is lobbying with the Government of Belgium for the rights of the NRIs/PIOs, he noted. 

One issue which is very important is the issue of pension to the NRIs/PIOs and the existing pension law in Belgium which is discriminatory in nature and irrational in ethics and application, said Prasad.

Under the provisions of the compulsory federal pension system in Belgium, people from India who work in Belgium or have worked in Belgium can`t have access to their pension if they retire outside Belgium unless India has signed a Bilateral Social Security Treaty with the Belgian Government.

Iran has the potential to become a flourishing market for Indian IT goods and Iran has a huge bank of young and creative talent and a large number of extremely active and efficient companies and institutions, said Prasad. 

Through their close cooperation, India and Iran can be quite effective in narrowing down the existing gap of digital rift in the modern world.

"I hope that both countries will soon come to an agreement over the Natural gas pipeline. Iran is the biggest producer of the Natural gas and India could benefit by this agreement."

"Both countries must intensify their economic co-operation. It is good for the development of India, Iran, the region and also for the world peace and security," Prasad told IRNA.