Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday said the Union government was not in favour of laws that treated every business house with suspicion.
“My first, and also earnest, attempt, which continues till today, is to decriminalise everything which has to do with company law or related law,” she said, while delivering the Nani Palkhivala Centenary lecture on the topic ‘Road map to $5 trillion economy’. The lecture was organised by the Palkhivala Foundation in Chennai.
She pointed out that there were a number of sections in company law that led to a criminal approach, i.e., penalties or even jail terms. The government also wanted to ensure that other legislations like the Income Tax Act or the Prevention of Money Laundering Act did not have such an impact, she added.
Ms. Sitharaman was responding to the remark made by Tata Sons Chairman N. Chandrasekaran during the Nani Palkhivala Memorial lecture in Mumbai last week, that there was micromanagement and suspicion, and what the industry needed was supervision and not suspicion. “I am impressed by Chandrasekaran’s remarks. The path to a $5 trillion economy would be a lot easier if there is a lot more trust between government and businesses,” she said.
The Finance Minister gave a broader prospective about hitting the $5 trillion economy target, and towards this end, highlighted reforms like the GST and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, the divestment of public sector units and professionalisation of public sector banks, among others.
Responding to a query from the audience on the credibility of government data and the decision to withhold the release of some data, Ms. Sitharaman said it was a strange situation when people tended to cite one set of data, which was questioned based on the methodology, to question the entire data set of the government. She pointed out that the change of base year of calculation was something which was done periodically for many decades, and blaming Mr. Modi for it was unacceptable.