“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” As I share my first communique with you as President, I thank you all to have reposed your trust in me to assume this responsibility. I am aware of the long journey and the tremendous responsibility of my new role to help take BCAS to the greater heights. But with your support I have ventured to take the first step. And even though the task ahead looks challenging, I am committed to walking the ‘talk’ as defined in my acceptance speech.
You would have noticed that my plan for the year ahead is in many ways a seamless continuation of immediate past President Abhay Mehta’s ESG theme which aimed to meet the standards of empowerment, scaling and globalizing as expected from the institution like ours.
I have ‘EASE’ as my theme which stands for Excellence Achieved by Systemic Empowerment. We, as a team look forward to providing considerable ‘ease’ in enabling all of us to rise to the next level of excellence. During the year ahead, we will focus our energies, talents and investments to ensure there is ‘ease’ in accessing knowledge, embracing emerging opportunities, networking and reskilling. Through this plan, we hope to provide to our members abundant opportunities throughout the year to raise the bar in their professional practices; and make BCAS an even stronger organisation.
BCAS has played a pivotal role in enabling its many members, not just in Mumbai, but all across India to grow professionally. To upskill and upscale their practices…To grapple with challenges of a fast moving ‘now’… And to leverage technology to their advantage and profit. For many, BCAS has been an accurate compass – showing members the way beyond today’s horizons. For others, BCAS has functioned powerfully as a lighthouse, illuminating the path and helping members to navigate the stormy times. BCAS is soon going to enter its 75th year in service of its members. 75 is indeed a significant milestone, and BCAS with its strong nurturing culture, resourceful leaders and the many multifarious & enlightening programs aims to continue its tradition of exploring newer avenues of opportunities. We are forming a mixed group of young and senior members to have road map for the celebrations and activities for the same.
It was Thomas Edison who once remarked that “Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.” But we have to know what to plan for, right? To help us take a peek at the unravelling future, we had none other than Mr. N. Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons on the Founding Day to share his insights with us. His vast expertise and experience in successfully steering TCS and now Tata Sons, eminently qualifies him to present to us the trends that will be constantly re-inventing tomorrow.
He pinpointed that Digital adoption is a key priority that is sweeping across the world and in India too. He talked of a digital bridge that will accelerate equality among the people, while expanding the consumption of Indians. The opportunity is getting bigger with Internet of Things (iot), Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning… to transform India. Propelling this high-tech wave are thousands of start-ups which are ushering in a tech revolution.
Sustainability and the green economy have become thrust areas for the corporate world. India, he explained has an advantage as it builds new infrastructure, while the rest of the world has the more complex task of replacing and upgrading existing infrastructure in a green manner. The third trend that is vital to the economy is having a widespread supply chain that packs speed, resilience and efficiency. Geo-politics has disrupted the world and upset the smooth flow of goods within and across national boundaries. India needs to work on building robust supply chains with proven partners.
Managing talent is another critical focus area that is extremely complex and least understood. It is of paramount importance to evolve to a model where workers, workplace and policies are in harmony. He also rued the declining proportion of women in the country’s workforce, which has sunk to 23% from 27%. He emphasised that talent will be available globally and with more collaborative tools, productivity can be optimised.
Goods and Services Tax – the One Nation, One Tax system has completed a period of momentous 5 years. Presented as a game-changer, GST has lived up to the expectations for most part. GST has delivered remarkably well – the initiatives such as the introducing of e-invoicing and linking of inward and outward supply returns, with the main GST returns have paid off handsomely. Revenues of May 2022 have soared to touch the Rs. 1.41 lakh crore mark; and the tax base has escalated to 1.36 crore active GST registrations as on 31 March 2022.
But there are several contentious issues too between the centre and the states; and the government and industry. For example, the five-year GST compensation period between the centre and states has ended. This was a decisive measure that enabled the launch of GST and was designed to give an assurance to state finances. With tough times ahead, and dwindling GST collections expected, states are concerned about their finances and have petitioned the government for an extension.
Companies too have their complaints which revolve largely around dispute resolution. Numerous judgements have ended up in litigation, pushing up costs for companies. The dire need for a GST Tribunal has not yet materialised too.
The good news is that CBIC is on the verge of coming out with a Standard Operating Procedure for serving summons and notices, to prevent undue harassment. This SOP will provide a clear code of conduct for GST officials and will make the process more transparent. Defining the SOP will iron out the current problem companies face of getting multiple notices for the same issue, or overlapping notices from the state and centre. Hopefully there will be more timely and proactive measures to help streamline the process of collecting GST and resolving any issues.
Before I sign off I remind myself of this beautiful poem by Robert Frost
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
My good fortune is that I am aware that I am not alone in my journey. I am backed up by the entire BCAS family. Hence, I express my profuse gratitude to all of you for giving me this immense support. I would also like to take this opportunity to invite you all to participate in greater numbers in the activities…and to send in your feedback and suggestions, so that we can constantly keep raising the bar.
With Best Regards,
CA Mihir Sheth
Please feel free to write to me at email@example.com |
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