India starting faceless tax assessment regime to forestall discretion in tax collection: PM : 04-11-2019

BANGKOK: India is rolling out “faceless tax assessment” to forestall any discretion or harassment in tax collection, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday as he highlighted major reform initiatives launched by his government in the financial sectors in the last five years.

The prime minister, speaking at an event to mark the golden jubilee of the Aditya Birla Group’s operations in Thailand, also asserted that India now has one of the most people-friendly tax regimes globally, and that efforts are on to further improve taxation system.

In presence of a large number of Indian and Thai business tycoons, the prime minister specifically mentioned about how rolling out of the Goods and Services Tax has resulted in economic integration in the country, adding that his government was working towards making it more people-friendly.

“In the last five years, we have lowered the tax burden on the middle class considerably. We are now starting faceless tax assessment so that there is no scope for discretion or harassment,” the prime minister said.

There has been criticism by the Congress that tax officials in the Modi government have been harassing businesses and political leaders critical of the ruling establishment.

In August, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman conveyed to India Inc. they will not face any harassment as a new system was being put in place to make officials accountable for their actions.

“In today’s India, the contribution of the hard working tax payer is cherished. One area where we have done significant work is taxation. I am happy that India is one of the most people friendly tax regimes,” Modi said.

In his address, Modi also talked about cut in the corporate tax rates.

“You would already have heard of India’s decision to cut the corporate tax rates. Our GST has fulfilled the dream of economic integration of India. We want to work towards making it even more people friendly,” the prime minister said.

The prime minister also elaborated on steps being taken by his government to improve ease of doing business in the country and their impact reflected in several ratings about the India growth story.

“India has jumped 79 places in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ rankings in five years. From 142 in 2014 we are 63 in 2019. This is a massive achievement. For the third year in row, we are among the top 10 reformers. The variables for doing business in India are many,” he said.

“We are a large and diverse nation. There are the Central, State and local governments. In such a context, a directional shift shows our commitment to reforms. The people and government came together to make the business environment better,” the prime minister said.

The prime minister said India was receiving substantially more tourists in the last few years, which he said, meant that “our efforts on the ground are bearing fruit. The fact that India has better roads, better air connectivity, better cleanliness and better law and order is bringing the world to India”.

In his address, Modi also congratulated the Aditya BirlaNSE 1.53 % group for its commendable work in Thailand, saying it is creating opportunities and prosperity for many in the country.

“We are here in Thailand, with whom India has strong cultural linkages. And, we are marking fifty years of a leading Indian industrial house in this nation. This reaffirms my belief that commerce and culture have inherent powers to unite,” the prime minister said.

Modi arrived here on a three-day visit on Saturday to attend ASEAN-India, the East Asia and the RCEP summits.

Source : Financial Express