Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday warned that tough action is being taken against companies indulging in tax evasion. He addressed chartered accountants across the nation while attending the foundation day event of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India in New Delhi.
This was the prime minister's first public speech after the country embarked upon a new tax regime with the inauguration of the Goods and Services Tax, or GST through a special midnight session in Parliament on Friday.
The prime minister said that while the media and society were focusing on GST, over 37,000 shell firms had been already detected and registrations of more than 3 lakh others had been cancelled. The government found these companies through data mining efforts implemented to tackle the black money menace in India. He asserted that strict measures will be taken against those who come in the way of the nation's economic growth and that the punishments will keep getting stricter. "A country where a select few loot, such a nation cannot scale new heights. These select few never want the nation to grow...our Government has taken a tough stand against those who have looted the nation," he said.
On black money
With regards to measures related to black money, Modi said that a Swiss Bank report from last year revealed that there has been a 45 percent decrease in money deposited in the banks from India. He said that there was a 42 percent increase in this same figure in 2013, a year before he took office. The prime minister said that the government will now get real-time data from Swiss banks, which will make it much harder to circulate black money abroad.
Swiss Bank has stated that there has been a 45% drop in the deposit by Indians, the lowest ever in years: PM Narendra Modi
— ANI (@ANI_news) July 1, 2017
Modi also said, "On one hand, there is a Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan and there is a movement to clean the nation from the menace of corruption."
He also spoke of demonetisation, telling the audience of CAs that they surely must remember 8 November. "I have heard, after that (demonetisation) you had a lot of work...Now I don't now what work you did, whether you did the right thing or wrong, whether you did it for the client or the country, but you sure did work." He said, "Those who have looted the poor will have to give back what they have looted."
According to PTI, Modi said his government is committed to taking even tougher action against those helping hide black money and he is not at all concerned about any political implications of strong moves.
Strong message to CA community
In his speech, Modi harkened back to his 'good and simple tax' comment, saying it was a historic day for India. He compared CA's to 'sage monks of the economy' who will show the Indian economy the way to success.
— BJP (@BJP4India) July 1, 2017
He addressed 2,75,000 chartered accountants across the nation when he asked why it was that despite having "crores" of professionals in high-end fields, there are just 32 lakh people in this nation who say that their income is more than 10 lakh. He also questioned why, in the past 11 years, there have just been cases against 25 CAs. He said that it is an issue that 1,400 cases are still pending amidst the accountants, all of which would take years to resolve.
"Like doctors who take care of a person's physical and mental health, it is your (chartered accountants) responsibility to take care of society's financial health," Modi said at the 68th Chartered Accountants' Day event in the National Capital. He urged that in 2017, when the one nation, one tax, one market dream has come true, chartered accountants need to safeguard society's economic health.
He also highlighted the importance of CAs in bringing in the economic changes under GST, saying that, "We will always remember how the community of professionals took a lead during the freedom struggle of India. I urge the CAs to take the lead in the journey towards India's economic growth." He added that it was up to the accountants to end corruption and the circulation of black money through their designations. "Your signature carries immense faith, please do not break that trust that is placed on you."
Concluding the event, Modi spoke of the 'Big 4' accounting firms. He urged the audience that by 2022, which also marks 75 years of Indian independence, that there should be an Indian firm on this prestigious list. "People talk of the Big 4 accounting firms. Sadly, there is no Indian firm there. By 2022, let us have a Big 8, where 4 firms are Indian," he said. PTI reports that the top global accountancy firms include PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG.
Watch the full speech here:
With inputs from agencies.
Updated Date: Jul 01, 2017 22:09 PM