CA DEV KUMAR KOTHARI
The Chairman of HDFC Shri Deepak Parekh has in some interviews expressed concerns about real work having been done on ground level by the Narendra Modi Government. He also expressed that now patience of business community is breaking. Author also agree with Shri Parekh. The Power Ministers comments on feelings of Shri Parekh seems not called for and not proper. He must have really tried to find reasons as to why such feelings are found in heart and mind of public. The worst ever defeat of BJP in Delhi polls must be taken seriously because Delhi public is a large sample to indicate feelings of public of India.
Comments of Shri Parekh:
Recently Shri Parekh on Wednesday (18.02.15) said there was some amount of impatience creeping in as to why no changes were happening and why the business optimism was taking so long in reflecting on the ground.
Few months ago, at a public event in November last year also Shri Parekh had raised this issue on the following lines:
We are riding a feel good wave and we are lucky that it has lasted so long. But time is ticking fast… The progress of this new government is being increasingly scrutinised and living up to the built-up expectations will not be an easy task,”
Rebuttal by honourable Power Minister:
In an interview on TV channel Honorable Power Minister and senior BJP leader Shri Piyush Goyal has tried to rebutt view of Shri Parekh on the following lines:
The above were said by Shri Goyal in an interview to CNBC-TV18 Awaaz’s by Shri Sanjay Pugalia.
Unfortunate comments by the Minister:
It appears that the comments made by Shri Goyal are not proper. He has not expressed a single work done towards making life easy on ground level. In fact public feels that there are more difficulties being felt by public and business community. Some easiness, due to computerisation and web based services is result of ongoing work undertaken by government.
Performance of HDFC and HDFC Bank and performance of other companies (particularly on stock exchanges) are not at all indicative of changes in business environment.
If we look at performance and market quotes of HDFC and HDFC Bank then also we do not find much support for the comments of Shri Goyal.
When we consider comments of general public on various discussion forums also we do not find much support to the comments of Shri Goyal. And that is indicative of public feeling.
Government work- more tools to harass public:
Public has feeling that NAMO government is now more in publicity and creating public hype, instead of doing real business for the public. There seems no steps about avoiding wasteful work and harassment by government departments.
If we have a close look we can find that the government officer are now having more tools to harass public. The power to harass, is the main reason of corruption at ground level. This must come to an end, if we want to reduce corruption.
Mere computerisation and websites is not enough:
Computerisation and work through websites has made life much easy, however, many government websites are not working properly. Many of email addresses placed on websites of government department do not work properly. Many websites are not updated.
For an example author refer to recently visited (on 21.02.15 at about 21:30 hours) website of ITAT http://www.itat.nic.in/ that even constitution of benches for coming week beginning on 23.02.15 are not available for most of benches. Screen shots of first two pages of the e-notice board are appended below:
This is just an example, based on my recent visit of websites. We find similar delays in case of other websites of government departments.
Ground realities of tax departments:
As per public grape-wine and discussions in informal groups ground realities are that power to threaten and harass public are being inc reased. Power to make surveys, searches, impose penalties, and launch prosecutions are being shown to threaten taxpayers.
Tax – payers are being asked to furnish even information (in hard copy) which are available to officers at a click of mouse in form of various returns filed by tax payer himself or other concerned tax-payers like tax deductors, tax collectors, annual return filers etc.
Tax payers are also being asked to furnish information which are not at all relevant in particular case. Information are being asked even without looking at information already available. This is because tax officers have no regard to the value of time of tax payers.
The government officers of tax departments, seems have more power to threaten public by conducting surveys, conducting searches, making high-pitched assessments, launching penalty and prosecution proceedings, creating troubles in business by attaching bank accounts and other debtors/ receivable accounts.
The tax payers and public at large have feeling that more high pitched assessments are likely to be framed by tax officers within March 2015, which will be followed by intense harassment for recovery even during pendency of first appeal.
No signs of productivity improvement:
In spite of so much publicity and public hype, there seems no signs of serious efforts being made for improvement of productivity of government departments and public sector enterprises. For additional revenue requirements emphasis seems more on new area of levies by way of tax, duty and cess. For example, we had heard about new swachata cess. Instead of raising more revenue, better utilisation of government resources must be policy.
There seems no serious efforts for recovery of ill-gotten black and bad money by politicians and bureaucrats- why such money should not be seized and used for public – to whom such money really belongs. It may be difficult to recover such money, therefore, a clean all sins disclosure scheme must be introduced to bring such money in productive channels.
The tax authorities are after businessmen who might have just tried to regularise his own legitimately earned money by paying lower tax under tax incentive schemes or with help of his associates by distribution of income.
This is not proper. If business is to grow contribution of businessmen must be regarded. Even if a businessmen has availed a tax incentive or has taken help of his associates to reduce overall tax burden, his contributions to bring money in productive channels by paying lower tax , must be appreciated, instead of branding his associates as name lenders or accommodation providers.