You can start over as many times as you want...seems to me one of the most simplest, yet sensible mantras with which to leap into the New Year. The key word being ‘start’, for all too often we stay in a rut of complacency or indifference, severely harming our well being. So let’s start making our dreams happen, by changing the old ways that keep pulling us down. Let’s make resolutions...and even if we break them...let’s start again! Let’s fly higher on the wings of our intuition and imagination...and should we falter, we can always start again!
As we work for a better New India, let us all try to be part of the solution. Let’s earnestly remove the blinkers of prejudice and hate and start building bridges with people of all strata, religion and region. Let us cultivate a sense of integrity and responsibility that we may enhance the world around us. In doing this, I truly believe that we will be better equipped to work together and grow our economy much faster. And more importantly, we will be able to enjoy the fruits of the economic growth, much better. Can we start now...and start again...and again?
GST was successfully launched this year but now is facing some implementation hiccups. It was basically designed to streamline the tax systems, while raising revenue, but now after five months it appears to be falling short on the revenue side. GST tax returns filed for the July to September 2017 period by around six lakh assessees under the ‘composition’ scheme show a meagre tax payment of around Rs. 250 crore thereby hinting at a massive tax evasion by these smaller taxpayers. The composition scheme is a special one to make GST filing easier for small firms; apart from simpler tax procedures, the returns have to be filed once a quarter. To that extent, the government’s plan to bring in the e-way bill and other ways to plug tax theft are quite justified.
The focus of the Council is clearly now on boosting revenue collection. The Council has already decided to do a nation-wide roll-out of the electronic way bill from June 1 to enhance enforcement and eliminate any leakages. The roll-out of the bill for inter-state movement of goods is being advanced to February 1. Only after revenue collections stabilise and compliance increases, will the Council consider any further streamlining of rates or merging of slabs.
During the entire year 2017, BCAS also played a significant role in GST by educating its members and the public through its various lectures, seminars, workshops and conferences. More than 5K people benefited from these initiatives of the Society.
The year is on its last legs but there’s plenty of enthusiasm in the stock markets, with the Sensex crossing the 34K mark. The Nifty on the NSE too spiralled up closing at a record high of 10K plus. The buoyancy reflects the widespread optimism that prevails in the markets. With SEBI paving the way for Universal Exchanges, investors will soon be able to trade both securities and commodities on a single platform, which will further catalyse growth.
And there’s more good news in the making...the Centre for Economics and Business Research in its recent report has said that India is set to become the fifth largest economy in the World in 2018, overtaking France and UK. The 9th edition of the World Economic League table that tracks economies and forecasts changes, believes that India will witness robust growth having got over the effects of demonetisation and GST roll-out issues. The IMF too re-echoes this projection, estimating a growth of 7.2% this year and 7.7% in 2018-19.
2017 was a year filled with some notable achievements for Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Our scientists set a world record with the launch of the largest number of satellites in a single launch, and a rocket launch (GSLV Mark III) with the heaviest payload. Providing a reliable, low cost option, it launched a whopping 130 customer satellites in this year alone! And not just the numbers, ISRO launched satellites ranging from 3136 kg to a meagre 4g! ISRO has now recognized its ability to launch satellites on a commercial scale with multiple multi-satellite launches. Continuing with its tradition to encourage student participation, ISRO also launched another student satellite this year.
Today India is the toast and envy of many nations. One of its biggest assets is its youth which is estimated to be around 968 million (people above 15 years). According to a survey conducted by BSE-CMIE, the number of employed people in the country is around 405 million. Every year around 26 million join the workforce, but only about 1.5 million get employment. A leading newspaper put it very appropriately saying, “... if the pace of job creation is not accelerated, the demographic bonus could become a demographic onus”.
Niti Aayog, the government’s premier think-tank is clearly on the job. Its Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar, who is working on the vision document of New India@2022 says the new focus is on agricultural transformation, malnutrition, higher education and employment generation. One of the priorities for 2018 is to push India’s exports as out-bound shipments play a critical role in creating high quality jobs.
The Society’s various Committees are putting in lots of efforts to organise quality programs for the benefit of its members. However, it is really alarming that many of these programs are not finding the right number of member audience planned to make them effective both in terms of costs and also inviting top notch speakers. The organisers get disheartened when these are curtailed or even at times cancelled. I sincerely appeal to all members to take benefit and enrol themselves to such top-quality programs for which BCAS is known for across the country.
I would like to end with an inspiring quote delivered recently by Mukesh Ambani to the Reliance Family, “...achieving your potential is the quest of the ordinary...conquering the impossible is your destiny.” The new year is here...let’s make the best of it...even if we have to keep starting again...and again! All the very best, Dear Members!
Wishing you a happy Makar Sankranti, Pongal and of course our 68th Republic Day!!
Feel free to write to me on firstname.lastname@example.org
With kind regards
CA. Narayan Pasari