New Delhi: Less than a month after Café Coffee Day owner VG Siddhartha’s death sparked a row over ‘tax terrorism’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the tax department has ‘some black sheep’ as he addressed the gaps in public administration.
In an interview with ET published on Monday, PM Modi said: “…However, it is a fact that some black sheep in the tax administration may have misused their powers and harassed taxpayers, either by targeting honest assesses or by taking excessive action for minor or procedural violations.” In order to resolve the issue, PM Modi outlined the Centre’s measures and said, “We have recently taken the bold step of compulsorily retiring a significant number of tax officials, and we will not tolerate this type of behaviour.”
The BJP-led government has also instructed the revenue secretary to come up with measures to ensure that honest taxpayers are not harassed and those who commit minor or procedural violations are not subjected to disproportionate or excessive action.
PM Modi also said he will leave no stone unturned in making India the best investment destination in the world, a better place to do business and go “as far as possible” to revive “animal spirits” and make the “entire private sector bullish”.
The government, Modi said, wants entrepreneurs to enjoy higher productivity and better profits.
“I want to motivate our industrialists to believe in the India story and in the long-term potential of the Indian market. They should carry on their business and complete their investment plan without any confusion. I reassure all honest and law-abiding businesses of all possible support from our end,” he said.
The PM also appealed to bankers to pass on the benefits of low interest to borrowers while assuring them against any harassment.
“No growth is possible if bankers stop taking decisions on day-to-day basis. I reassure the banking fraternity that all their decisions taken in good faith with sound business rationale would not face any witch hunt.”
Economic growth, Modi said, means “more money in the pockets of people” and not just to the state exchequer.
Modi said the slowdown in the automobile sector is temporary and the transition to electric vehicles is not a cause for worry. “The slowdown is transient, accentuated by credit constraints, some regulatory changes and passiveness in demand. I believe that both demand and the industry will bounce back strongly and soon,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the country has a large enough market and big enough policy space to ensure growth of internal combustion engine (ICE) based automobiles as well as electric vehicles (EVs).
Further, he said the government is committed to fulfilling the five-year vision of investment-led growth, targeting Rs 100 lakh crore.
“This would entail further liberalising our FDI policy, simplification of labour laws, further enhancing ease of doing business, power sector reforms, asset monetisation and asset recycling in public sector, and reforms in banking, insurance and pension sectors,” he said.