Guwahati the 16th day of January, 2019
A happy new year and good wishes for Lohri, Pongal, Bihu and Makar Sankranti.
The 21st National Convention of the Federation, ‘Saarthi’, was held on 22nd and 23rd of December, 2018 at Guwahati in a grand way. Friends, we organised Saarthi with a clear vision to strengthen the bond of togetherness amongst the members and it was very heartening to see that our members transgressing geographical, cultural and professional barriers, mingled with one another, strengthening the bond and spirit of togetherness. I am happy to say that we have been successful in our mission.
For the first time, the incumbent National President took the oath of office at the Inaugural Session of the Convention itself and the oath was administered by Hon’ble Mr. Justice Deepak Gupta, Judge, Supreme Court of India. Names of all the office bearers of the Federation were announced at the first National Executive Meeting of the Federation for the year 2019 on 21st December, 2018 itself at Guwahati. All the sub-committees were also constituted and notified on the same day. For the first time, the dates and places of the two day conference to be held during the year 2019 were also announced. Before the start of the year itself, the dates and places for the AIFTP International Study Tour for the year 2019 were also announced. It is heartening to note that all the sub-committees have started working from the first day of January itself and one day seminars have also been organised in different places in the month of January itself. With a view to spread the wings of the Federation to the remotest parts of the country, I have requested all the zones of the Federation to organise seminars, study meetings and other programmes at places where the same has not been done in the past. We have to take the Federation to the remotest places of the country so that our professional colleagues at those places may also take the benefit of the activities of the Federation. In this process, the East Zone of the Federation jointly with Jaipur District Bar Association has organised a one day Tax Seminar at Jaipur on 23rd January, 2019. In fact, it was very heartening to see nearly 100 delegates from Odisha participating in the 21st National Convention at Guwahati.
During the year 2019, we shall try our best to increase the membership strength of the Federation by at least 1,000 members. The Membership Development Committee under the chairmanship of Mr. Kewalramani is working hard in this direction. We shall also try and see that the members, who in the past were very active, but for some reason are not taking active part in activities of the Federation, are again involved in the Federation activities during the year 2019.
Friends, the chief guest at the 21st National Convention at Guwahati, Hon’ble Mr. Justice Deepak Gupta emphasised the need on the maintenance of standards of professional conduct and etiquettes by members of the Federation. The Federation has already framed standards of professional conduct and etiquettes for the members of the Federation and I shall appeal to all the members of the Federation to follow the said standards scrupulously. I have also found that the attendance of some of the members of the National Executive Committee is very poor, which may be because of the various difficulties and professional commitments. However, in this process, we not only lose the fellowship opportunity with the members but also the views, advice and suggestions of the members of the National Executive Committee. I hope and trust that the members of the National Executive Committee shall make all endeavours to attend the meetings of the National Executive Committee.
Friends, the year 2019 is going to be very important inasmuch as the same is an election year. After the introduction of Goods and Services Tax in 2017, lots of difficulties and inconveniences have been faced in the implementation of GST. Recently, the Government has taken number of steps to streamline the implementation of Goods and Service Tax and I am sure that in the year 2019, the implementation of GST shall be streamlined and the same shall lead to better compliance.
We are also taking steps for submitting representations to appropriate authorities for filling up the vacancies in the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal as well as elevation of the members of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal and those practising in the taxation side as Judges of High Courts. Since in the coming years, the tax litigation is going to increase manifold, it will be in the interest of all that persons who are conversant with tax laws, are also elevated as Judges of High Courts so that tax cases can be disposed of expeditiously.
Friends the first two days of National Tax Conference is going to be held at Aurangabad on 16th and 17th of February, 2019. The organisers are working very hard to make the conference a grand one. I request you all to participate in the said conference and make it a grand success.
With best wishes.
Dr. Ashok Saraf