His Excellency, Mr. Taranjit Singh Sandhu, High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka, Mr. Sanjay Sharma, Secretary General Mr. Samir Jani, National Vice President, Mr. K. L. Goyal, Chairman (NZ), Mr. R. D. Kakra, Chairman (EZ), Mr. Narain Jain, former Vice President, Mr. V P Gupta, Convener Direct Tax Committee, dignitaries on the dais, Ladies & Gentlemen:
It fills my heart with unspeakable joy to welcome you all on the soil of Sri Lanka on this auspicious day, the auspicious event.
His Excellency, Mr. Taranjit Singh Sandhu is amongst us. It is a matter of great pride for us. I welcome his Excellency from the core of my heart. His Excellency is a person of unmatchable example. I have no words to thank, I can never forget this gesture, extremely affable and amiable, a perfect combination of head and heart.
All India Federation of Tax Practitioners is an apex body of various Tax Bar Associations and Tax Consultants of India. Presently about 132 professional associations from various States are its affiliated members and approximately 7,000 Advocates, Chartered Accountants and Practitioners are its life members.
With the blessings of the former Chief Justice of India, Hon'ble Mr. Justice J. C. Shah and distinguished Jurist Mr. Nani A. Palkhiwala, the Federation had witnessed its birth on 11-11-1976. The moto of association and its members is to achieve excellence without any compromise on ethics and education.
India and Sri Lanka both have civilisational and historical links since time immemorial. We have built upon a legacy of intellectual, cultural, religious and linguistic interaction. The gift of Buddhism was given by India to Sri Lanka through King Ashoka, 2500 years ago. During this time, a sapling of the bodhi tree was brought to Sri Lanka and the first monastery and Buddhist monument was established. We have common civilisation, common values and common traditions. Even we have got our independence from the colonial bondage simultaneously, India in August 1947 and Sri Lanka in February 1948. Since then, we have not looked behind; both the countries have emerged as independent democratic countries.
Inspired by the civilisational links, the relationship between India and Sri Lanka has reached the position of irreversible excellence. The two countries continue to march in tandem with clear objectives of promoting prosperity, peace and security both within the region and beyond. In recent years, the relationship has been marked by close contacts at the highest political level, growing trade and investment, co-operation in the field of development, education, culture and defence as well as a broad understanding on major issues of international interest. Tourism also forms an important link between India and Sri Lanka. Enhanced connectivity between the people of the two countries and the two economies towards greater integration will be natural and mutually beneficial.
The theme of the Conference is “The Role of the Tax Practitioners in Global Economy”. Globalisation, Digitalization, Make-in-India, Startup India, Standup India all the schemes propagated by our Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi requires simple tax laws, early determination of liability and early justice. Taxes are as old as civilisation. The globalisation has a great impact on the legal system in general and on tax laws in particular. The global financial recession and the associated policies for physical consolidation has made the tax evasion and avoidance a prominent issue. Base erosion and profit sharing by MNCs and high net worth individual as well as the role played by the Tax Havens has aggravated the issue. Double tax avoidance agreement is a solution to various issues to the taxpayers to a larger extent.
Friends, we have inherited one of the oldest civilisations, however corruption and the black money are the ailments which keep pulling us back into the sea of misery.
The historic decision of the Government of India to fight against corruption, black money, terrorism and counterfeit currency is a giant leap towards creating a clean and corruption free economy. It is true that a parallel shadow economy generates inflation which adversely affects the poor and middle classes more than others. It deprives Govt. of its legitimate revenues which could have been otherwise used for welfare and development activities. Though it is a short term pain to the honest taxpayers, in the long-term the demonetisation could change the face of Indian economy, improve the Government’s fiscal position and tax compliance. The size of cash economy will shrink.
The Indian Government has concrete action plan to bring in control the parallel economy. Apart from demonetisation, several measures have been taken by the Government. The upcoming GST regime is also set to become a major hindrance to generation of black money in view of better transaction trails offered by it.
As per the Revenue Secretary, inflation will fall by 2% on implementation of the Goods & Service Tax (GST) and create buoyancy in the economy through better compliance and ease of doing business. GST will be a single nationwide sales tax replacing a string of Central and State levies.
India is set to emerge as the world’s fastest growing major economy. According to IMF, India ranks 7th globally in terms of GDP and is expected to grow at 7.1% in 2017. Our Government has floated various schemes to empower the poor, to empower women, to make the youth strong and to make the farmers prosperous. Various initiatives have been offered by the Government to the foreign companies to make the economy global.
Increasing complexity of society, complicated business deals, rapid technological changes etc. requires constant study and interaction with the tax experts as the role of tax practitioner becomes much more challenging. Holding of Conferences like the present one will enable the tax practitioner to face the new challenges in the present scenario.
Friends, I would like to express my gratitude to his Excellency Mr. Taranjit Singh Sandhu for becoming the part of this momentous event and to make us feel a sense of pride.
I also thank Madam Suja for extending her co-operation in co-ordinating this Conference.
Friends, I once again welcome you all on this great day and call upon you to take an oath to build a nation full of opportunities and challenges.
Let us walk together, hand in hand
Let us walk together with love and compassion,
Let our minds understand each other well
Let us live together in peace, in true spirit and
Let us build a vibrant India, full of opportunities and challenges.
Prem Lata Bansal