As I write this message, a big suspense on what would budget have in store for us has been unravelled. Shimmering with its pro-people and pro-market initiatives, it is poised to propel India’s growth to greater heights. It has the distinct stamp and finesse of the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman who has pulled off a remarkable feat in putting together a budget that has something for everyone. The budget focuses on boosting technology, infrastructure and green energy while easing tax across various citizen classes. It dexterously manages macro-economic stability, while providing a strong impetus to job creation and harnessing youth power. The budget also has initiatives to add a fillip to agriculture, rural development, women empowerment, entrepreneurship, healthcare and education. What is laudable is that the budget has laid clear direction for the nation in its Amrit Kaal to what its goal posts are for India @100 in 2047. Care has also been taken to pave the way for revitalizing the economy and ensuring its steady growth and development. That said the Finance Bill 2023 still leaves out required reforms at the administrative level that would have helped honest tax-paying businesses. I am hopeful that with representations from the BCAS and other institutions, wisdom will prevail to bring about those reforms.
While there are many positive developments in a country which is on the cusp of exponential growth, there is one distressing fact about the manner in which the MCA portal has opted for migration of its software platform. Considering the strategic importance of its operation, it was expected that there would be adequate trial runs of its Beta version and an open forum for the users to give their feedback. Unfortunately, in its zeal and zest of claiming credit for the “Ease of Business Initiative,” its effect has been counterproductive. The performance of the portal has been far from satisfactory. Result- there is complete chaos and confusion- with no statutory forms being able to get filed, Incorporation of new companies being on hold resulting in uncertainty for those wanting to invest in India under a JV. I hope the government takes up this with utmost priority to resolve it.
It is heartening to note that National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) has extended the date of submission of views/comments in relation to Annual Transparency Reports by Auditors/Audit Firms after representation by the BCAS.
ICAI has mandated an Audit Quality Maturity Model (AQMM) for a certain category of audit firms. This is a welcome initiative considering the fact that the entire Model has been developed with the volunteering team at the ICAI with the required help of seniors in the profession. It is expected that initially there could be a few teething problems and implementation challenges till the time it gradually attains maturity. But it is a laudable initiative and would help Indian firms to compete globally and raise their level.
I am also very happy to inform you that BCAS has been successfully audited and found compliant with the ISO 9001 Quality Standards. This will help BCAS further increase its administration and reputation.
It is said, “The brightest stars shine in the darkest nights!” I am sure you will agree with me when we look at the situation across the world today. Wars and proxy wars are spreading suffering, while a powerful earthquake has wiped out thousands and added to the misery in the world. Stunted economies, looming recession, battered supply chains and spiralling inflation are also adding to the prevailing ‘darkness’. So, are there any stars to be seen?
India! By day or by night, India has emerged as a shining star! With a policy of “reimagine, reinvent every single element of governance” by the government there is a determined transition from ‘Government-First to a People-First approach and the results have been nothing short of astounding.
The number of taxpayers escalated drastically, and the gross tax revenue has grown more than three-fold; from Rs.11 lakh crore in 2013-14 and is expected to be more than Rs. 33 lakh crores in 2023-24. What’s remarkable is that the growth has happened even after reducing the tax rates. The government has been working at the grassroot level – transforming the lives of the marginalised with a variety of welfare schemes which were innovatively delivered. Jan Dhan bank accounts, Mudra Loans, low-cost housing, construction of toilets, availability of electricity and clean cooking fuel were some of the key initiatives that have been systematically unrolled across the country.
With one-third of the world wrestling with recession and 75 countries facing a global debt crisis, India is looking at the economic growth of 6.9%. To further accelerate the economy the government is aggressively investing in a variety of infrastructures that will not only provide jobs but attract both global and private finance. The immense confidence and optimism around India have not gone unnoticed – numerous corporate heads have hailed India’s dynamism and are announcing plans to invest and step-up employment in India. Bob Moritz, Global Chairman of PwC said, “You should not be thinking about India as an emerging market, India is the leading market.” Undoubtedly, India’s Amrit Kaal is now!
Events: As usual last quarter of the financial year is throbbing with events and activities. The meeting was organized on the provisions of the Finance Bill 2023 where the speaker CA Pinakin Desai lucidly explained the nuances and finer points of the Finance Bill. The 56th RRC held at Coimbatore got an overwhelming response and active participation. The interactive platform provided to the participants was appreciated by one and all and provided an excellent networking opportunity. There were interesting lecture meetings on the subject of Chat GPT and AQMM which were received very well. On behalf of the BCAS Foundation, I along with some trustees got an opportunity to inaugurate the digital classroom at the school in the tribal area. BCAS Foundation has donated 23 digital screens with preloaded education software to various schools in the tribal area of Talasari, near Umbergaon. These will be used by 12 schools with the advantage of being able to conduct classes with few teachers.
The month of March also brings exciting opportunities. There is a workshop on M&A, Ind AS RSC and Power Summit. There are also several other Lecture Meetings that may be of interest to you. I request you to keep a tab on the announcements not to miss out.
Before I sign off let me wish that the colours of Holi make our life spectacular. Happy Holi to you all!