July 6, 2017

Speaking at Bombay Chartered Accountants Society 69th Founding Day Lecture, Mumbai

It is truly a pleasure to be amongst all my old friends, Mangesh, our Central Counselling member, CA Mr. Santhe who has authored the Journal Special Edition of a Journal, our young friend Rishabh, who has made all of us very proud today. I have with me the GST Commissioner, Mr. Mahendroo, and all my dear chartered accountant brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen. I still remember when I completed my chartered accountancy, I received the membership form of Bombay Chartered Accountant Society, I don’t recall now who was the President at that time.

But I don’t know whether I still continue to be a member, because I haven’t received any payment notices or anything. But truly a privilege, I came to know only today that our Mumbai Chartered Accountants’ Society was incorporated barely 6 days after the Act of Parliament. That’s truly a very-very great thing and something we all can be proud of. When Mumbai was recognized as probably being the nerve centre of the Chartered Accountancy profession even as early as 68 years ago.

We have just had a wonderful celebration in Delhi on the 1st of July, both our Chartered Accountants’ Day , GST Day as some people have thought it prudent to call it, and the fact that both of these have coincided is really a matter of great privilege and pride for all of us. The fact that I don’t know whether deliberately or coincidentally, the fact the GST, which to my mind is the biggest transformation this nation has seen in our 70 years of Independence is being started on CA Day is truly very-very redeeming for all of us, stakeholders who have participated in the economic journey of India. We now have a duty to participate in the economic transformation of India.

I was just glancing through this journal, very beautifully made. I would love to know who the; who has made this cartoon, I could use in my own efforts. You have done it? I particularly want to carry it to give it to Hasmukh Adhia. You have really played a beautiful pun – what an idea Sirji! It has really come out very well.

Of course, Chartered Accountants को नुक्स निकालने की आदत होती है| Arun Jaitley is much taller in height than Narendra Modi. I am just correcting a little, but artists and, particularly, cartoonists have full liberty. We chartered accountants don’t have that liberty. But, very well presented.

As I was seeing this, two thoughts came to my mind. though my subject, I asked Chetan Bhai, who is an old friend that you really want me to talk about a drab subject like energy, which doesn’t excite any of our chartered accountants. But, let’s see, we can do a interplay between the two. But, while we are at it, the one thing that came out of both this cartoon and international experiences, has been that inflation somehow tends to show its ugly head in the first couple of quarters after the GST implementation. And, I remember when the date was being debated, discussed in the GST council, and most all the decisions have to be taken in the GST Council as you are all aware. We had just one out of 30 members in that, in the central government and बड़ा जिगर लगता है to say that we are giving up our powers to tax. The Centre government would have the decision on service tax, on excise, on all of that.

We have actually given it up to a body where we have much less say than the states have, and, of course, I think it’s a great testimony to Finance Minister, Mr. Jaitley’s own personality, own sagacity that every decision in this GST Council has been taken unanimously, everyone of it.

But, as this cartoon very rightly shows also, the consumer, having to climb up and prices on the top, so I think you are trying to reflect on inflation, but that is where I think all of us in this room can play a role. And if we don’t play that role, we would be doing injustice to this great transformation, to this great reform. And why I say this is that, after all, it’s a culmination of some 17 taxes and 23 cesses. But, earlier they were hidden in different pockets, small pockets, but now all of that is being converted into a credit and the final figure will be transparently known to all consumers. But, it is incumbent on all traders, all business persons, manufacturers, every part of the economic value chain, to ensure that the correct pricing is carried forward and input credits are correctly given.

I will share a example, I mean, I took a hair cut coincidentally on 1st of July, I wanted to look good in the CA programme that evening. And, as I walked out, and that’s the first time I saw my bill, because आजतक कभी बिल देखने की इतनी आदत नहीं थी, and I asked my colleague, कि is the basic price the same as I was paying earlier? And it was. So 15 became 18, but if the base price remains the same and this will happen across the country in different products. Some will do it deliberately, many will do it out of ignorance. So, I think it will be important for all of us as a community to ensure that customers are not jilted, and the correct pricing is right size at the input level.

So, if the base price of a hair cut was 100 rupees, let’s say, and there is going to be input credits coming in, whether it’s on shampoo, on whatever are the inputs on the house keeping services, security services, the rent of the premises, all of these are going to be available. Also to all of us Chartered Accountants by the way, and there are some reports that CAs have started jacking up their fees. I thought it should have been the other way around. But, it will be important that we advise our clients, our people whom we have served to give the correct input credit as the materials, goods or services move from one part of the value chain to the other. Otherwise, what we are trying to save the whole system from the harassment, tax terrorism, will once again show its ugly head. Because, after all, we cannot allow runaway inflation in this system, and I think many of you may also be aware while no country of the size of India has ever been able to implement GST. In most cases, no government of the day has the audacity or has the gumption or the willingness, because every government that has introduced GST has lost the next election.

And why I say this to you is that this was also deliberated by us and it was not the first occasion that a decision came up before this government, which was not popular, many decisions we have taken, which have not been popular. And many times in the cabinet, this used to come up, is this the right time to take this decision, there is UP election happening, there is this, there is that, can we defer it and every single time, the honourable Prime Minister had only one question – is this in public interest? Is this in national interest? If it is, then the time is now, right now.

This nation has had decades where we have only been focussed on politics, for decades, we have tried to calibrate everything to elections, and in this country elections are held almost every 3-5 months in different ways in different parts of the country. So, he has steadfastly on the last 3 years kept the view that whatever decision is in national interest, जनहित में जो निर्णय करना है, तैयार हो, करो, चिंता मत करो, चुनाव तो आते रहेंगे|

And, I remember some decision we were taking before the UP election where unanimously the whole cabinet was saying, थोड़ा defer कर देते हैं election के बाद करेंगे| I said, नहीं अभी होगा इसमें डिले करने से देश का नुकसान होगा और आप लोग जाकर सब जनता को समझाओ, जनता समझेगी, जनता हमारे साथ है | जनता को विश्वास है कि जो कर रहे हैं वह अच्छा कर रहे हैं, अगर हमें विश्वास है तो जनता को भी विश्वास होगा | And you saw the results in UP, Uttarakhand – 4 governments out of 5, 325 seats which in its peak, no party has ever been able to get it in UP, and this is a smaller assembly, earlier it used to be Uttarakhand-UP combined. 325 out of only 403 MLAs.

What I’m only trying to reflect on is decisions are not being taken with the fear of worry कि भाई if every government who has taken GST तो हमारा क्या हाल होगा अगले चुनाव में| Gujarat elections round the corner. Decisions are taken on what is good for the country, what will serve this country for years and years to come, and end of the day, what will help to eliminate this problem of black money, this problem of corruption. That has become a prime focus of Prime Minister Modi and his government, how can we use this period in government to leave behind a system, an establishment which can run honestly, the world can see that India is now run honestly, and we can leave behind for all these youngsters at the back of the room a better system to do work in, a better country to live in where they can sleep peacefully at night and don’t have to worry कि कल raid होगी, कल क्या होगा, कल क्या पकड़ा जायेगा, कल कौन से ऑफिस से हमको summon आएगा!

And, that is the kind of country I think we all want to live in, none of us likes to live in this atmosphere of uncertainty, corruption, knowing full well that there will be problems, sometime or the other somebody can get caught. And the appeal that Prime Minister Modi made on 1st of July was with a real heavy heart. He is appealing to all of us to be a part of this change we all want to see in the world. We will all have to be a part of that change, we will all have to make a difference to India’s future.

In some sense, I am tasked also with running the Renewable Energy Ministry, which has a lot of interplay with concerns of climate change. After all, why are we looking at climate change so seriously? We are all concerned, what will happen to the globe, what will happen to the planet as we go along. Can we indiscriminately continue to pollute this world any further, or is it almost time up now. Unless we protect this planet, unless we take serious measures to improve the way energy is produced, to improve the way carbon dioxide and other pollutants are let go into the universe, into the atmosphere, we may not have a world to live in 50-70 years down the road.

And, in some sense, why do we do that, because I believe, as Mahatma Gandhi had said that we are all trustees on this planet. We have inherited the earth so that we make a better place to live in for our next generation. And, in some sense, that is the objective with which this government is making such transformational changes, such impactful measures, so that we don’t come in in a business of as usual situation and leave behind a business as usual country. Can we use this 5-year period, 3 of which are already over now to make a difference to the future of our India, and to have been able to do whatever we have in the last three years while it is quite satisfying.

It gives us a lot of encouragement, but if also shows us that the country expects much more. It’s an aspirational India, a 125 crore Indians aspiring for a better quality of life, and rightly so. After all, 7 decades after independence, can we have nearly 20-25 crore people without electricity? Can we have millions of people without shelter on their head? Can we still afford to have malnourishment in this country? Can we have a father carrying a child for 10 kms because there is no medical facility nearby, there is no transportation available? And, God knows whether he’s in time to save his child or not in time.

Can we afford that our armed forces, our army, our navy, our air force does not get the most modern of weapons to protect us at the borders? Can we afford to have even a single girl child not getting the benefit of quality education? And, in that situation, very often people ask me, when I am interacting with traders, business people and people who are not used to paying their taxes, particularly, are asking this question that why should I pay my tax? And, I have only this to tell them that just go to your village once more, wherever, we have all come from somewhere or the other. I doubt any, I mean, you may have been born in Mumbai, which was itself almost a village sometime or the other in the past. But, wherever our roots are, if we just go back our roots once, and see whether really there has been inclusive progress in the country, are our people, our farmers, any better off than they were maybe 30-50 years ago, are our children any better off than the children of 30-40 years ago? Has the quality of education in India improved or deteriorated, save and except, a few schools where you and I may be paying lakhs of rupees as fees and maybe giving some high quality education for our children.

Does not every child in this country have a right to that same quality of education or are we permanently going to have two Indias of the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. Are we going to relegate a large section of our country to perpetual disparity, disentitle a large section of the country from their aspirations or are we going to collectively work to create an honest society where we know that when we pay our taxes, it is going for some public good or when we recognize and feel ashamed that either when we don’t pay our taxes honestly or we help somebody not to pay his taxes honestly to evade his taxes, we may actually be snatching away a child’s second meal of the day. We may actually be depriving the parents of a poor farmer from healthcare. We may possibly be causing one more child to become malnourished and I think if that recognition comes into our basic thinking. And, I say this with full authority ladies and gentlemen, if this comes into the thinking of only us Chartered Accountants in this country, forget everybody else, forget about 125 crore Indians, we 2.5 lakh chartered accountants, and if we can inculcate that into our students also, our 1 million strong community can transform the future of India alone.

And, we have that power, we have that ability. We can do it. Very often we say, corruption के बगैर काम ही नहीं हो सकता है, भ्रष्ट्राचार के बगैर हम कैसे काम करेंगे, मुझे अभी भी याद है, I don’t know, some of the seniors here may remember, I did my articles in a very small firm, one room firm. SR Rege, if anybody remembers him. It was a very small firm in Parel, Lalbagh area. रेगे जी भी दिव्यांग थे मुझे इसलिए याद आया आज क्योंकि हमने आज एक सम्मानित किया है एक हमारे छोटे भाई को जिसने परिस्थितियों के बावजूद अपना स्थान बनाया इस समाज में, रेगे साहब भी दिव्यांग थे|

He taught me two very serious lessons in my life, two lessons. One, of course, is an easier one, we have all, probably, benefitted by that. He taught me what being meticulous is. I remember if we had drafted a letter, even a single comma or hyphenation or a spelling mistake, and in those days we didn’t have DTP and computers, so you had to sit and retype that letter. And, I don’t know how many times he would make us sit and carefully redraft letters going to the income tax department, of all the things.  But, we were preparing it. Our conscience was important, not the reader’s ability to understand or not.

I remember when we were tallying balance sheets, again we didn’t have; I think calculators had barely come in, but in exams, we were not allowed calculators. But, even if it was a 1 paisa difference between the debit and credit side, Rege sahib सोने नहीं देते थे, 3-3, 4-4 दिन लग जायें वह एक पैसा ढूँढने के लिए. But you have to find that, he would never allow us to clear a balance sheet with some entries here and there. And, he had a right logic. He said it could be 1 crore rupees and 1 paisa on one side and 1 crore on the other side, and netting off 2 or 1 paisa difference. He insisted ढूंढो, पूरा every एंट्री ढूंढो शुरू से लेकिन you have to find it. And we didn’t have all the facilities of software matching and this and that in that time. But that lesson is holding us in good stead, now almost 29 years after I completed my Chartered Accountancy. Even today, I am able to whatever little bit of work I have been able to do is on the back of that grooming, which made you meticulous in your work, so you can be equally demanding and ask for exacting standards of performance from your team around you.

And, the other big lesson was about corruption, Rege never paid a bribe in his life and I remember going to the income tax offices, I think nowadays at least you must be getting some chair to sit on, in our time there was no chairs also. So, you hang around the passages. If a peon is friendly with you, you will get a stool. Am I right Yogendra Bhai? And, the better option was कि कोई न कोई income tax officer अगर दोस्त है तो you hang around his table till your turn comes. And, there were days when you never got called in also, you would get queries upon queries, because the guy was giving you a message and then the fourth time you get the query, the first one were being repeated. But, when I told Mr. Rege कि साहब यह तो पहले answer कर चुके हैं, वह same है, he would say अरे फिर तो बहुत अच्छा है, तुम answer repeat कर दो| But you know what happened? Gradually, everybody in Aaykar Bhawan and Piramal House in Lal Bagh, everybody realised कि इधर तो दाल नहीं गलने वाली है तो हमारे assessment सबसे fastest होने लग गए, बिना कोई लफड़े. वह रेगे का केस है, करके ख़त्म करो कुछ आना जाना नहीं है इसमें छोड़ दो|

Can we not imagine that type of a situation in this country and there are 3 or 4, actually, only 3 categories of clients, if I may, whom we can briefly assess.

There is one category of people जो चाहते नहीं हैं गलत काम करना, वह हालात की वजह से करना पड़ता है, हालात भी हो सकता कि व्यवस्था, the entire establishment makes you do it. You have to pay bribes here, there, this that, maybe, even to the officials and different departments, politicians, you had to pay politicians also. We are trying to put an end to that. Even for political donations, we have bought in electoral bonds, कि लोग cheque से दें, टैक्स पेड ईमानदार पैसा दें उसपर भी 100 percent tax deduction मिलेगा|

So, you give a 100 crore rupee donation, I am just giving you hints, by the way. You can encourage you clients. It’s a tax saving tool also. 100% tax deduction. But other than that, GST, demonetisation all of these things will help us gradually give a simple tax structure. Everybody is now in the whole system and it’s been beautifully made. Adhia and his team really deserve the highest level of compliments, beautiful structure.

मैंने जितना स्टडी किया GST, it’s remarkable. मैं नहीं बना सकता था इतना अच्छा जो इन लोगों ने बनाया है | अब इस हालात को ही अगर हम बदल दें, सिस्टम सिंपल हो जाये, policy-driven approach हो, which we have tried to do in my own sectors also, in power, in coal, in renewable energy. हर एक चीज़ पारदर्शिता से, transparency से, bid out करो, payments को लाइन में, public domain में डाल दो तो line में ही payment होगी तो payment के लिए भी रिश्वत नहीं देनी पड़े| Every way, yesterday I got an idea, उसके लिए भी I have asked, कोयले की कंपनी से मालूम पड़ा कि कौन सी सीम से कोयला लेना, उसके लिए भी रिश्वत दे के you can select a better grade या मेरा कोयला पहले सप्लाई हो जाये दूसरे से, कल परसों मैं किसी का इंटरव्यू कर रहा था तो मैं हर एक को पूछता हूँ कि क्या हो रहा है काम गलत, तो मालूम पड़ा . immediately ordered एक mobile app बनाओ और मैं थोड़ा बदनाम हूँ क्योंकि मैं थोड़ा बदनाम हूँ क्योंकि apps हो गए हैं कि मेरा phone भर गया था, तो अभी हमने एक icon Govt करके उसके अन्दर सब apps डाल दिए हैं इतने ज्यादा apps हो गए हैं| But i believe transparency can transform things, जितना ज्यादा transparent होगी सरकार और फाइलों से निकलकर public domain में जाएगी उतना ज्यादा रिश्वत लेने की कैपेसिटी ख़त्म हो जाएगी system की| अब coal block auctions करना शुरू किया हमारी सरकार ने, every mineral block is now only auctioned, not given out to friends, relatives, MPs, nobody. अब तो Linkage भी नहीं मिलेगी किसी को without a proper due transparency and process. Payments – I am putting everything into an app so everybody knows जिस दिन माल एक्सेप्ट हो गया वह मेरा payment log in हो गया, उसके बाद वाले को payment हो ही नहीं सकता जबतक मेरा नहीं होगा |

मैंने कल एक app launch किया MERIT, there is a thing called Merit Order Dispatch कि सबसे सस्ती बिजली state DISCOM पहले खरीदेगी variable cost पर और यह भी flout होता था तो जब study किया और मालूम पड़ा flout होने के cases तो I said इसको भी एक app में public domain में डालो, जनता अपने आप नोच के states को force कर देगी कि सबलोग सस्ते से सस्ती बिजली ले|

We are trying to do all that transparency, and we are trying to do the same thing in the tax laws, whether it’s GST. Hopefully, we will continue to make changes in income tax to try and simplify and reduce all these exemptions, ….. have lower rates of taxes, less complications in the system. We can only do that for those people who really were हालात के मारे एक तरह से of course, उसमें एक और category है.

If these 6 gentlemen and I, 7 of us are in one market, समझो हम कपड़ा बाज़ार में हैं. They are all pay their taxes honestly, I do. So, my product will, obviously become cheaper. Now, what do they do? They have to compete with somebody who is willing to give the same product at a cheaper price. So, either they will be driven out of business in the competition or they will use the good old saying, “if you can’t beat them, join them.” यह भी चोरी करना शुरू करेंगे| और हम तो मुंबई वाले हैं हमको सबको मालूम है रियल एस्टेट में यह हुआ था कुछ साल पहले | कोई बालकनी फ्री यूज़ करता था, कोई फ्लावर बेड फ्री यूज़ करता था, कोई AHU room बनाता था.

We have all suffered also. Innocently, many of us as customers have suffered, many of us have helped do the thing. Whatever, we have been both sides of the fence. एक सुबोध कुमार कमिश्नर आया था मुंबई में, if you recall. What had happened was one or two builders started cheating, customer को लगा कि भाई इनका सस्ता है माल, अच्छा है, बिल्डिंग अच्छी है, सब कुछ अच्छा है, एरिया ज्यादा मिलता है, उसकी तरफ जाने लगे | आहिस्ते-आहिस्ते सब बिल्डर्स ने फॉलो करने लगे तो पूरे मुंबई में ही सिस्टम ही वैसा हो गया कि everybody is cheating in the Trade वह भी एक प्रकार के हालात के मारे लोग होते हैं जिनको choice नहीं है करना नहीं चाहते हैं पर कम्पटीशन में करना पड़ता है यह सब, वह भी एक प्रकार से GST में उनको भी तकलीफ कम होगी | क्योंकि GST में हो सकता है मैं अपना सेल ना दिखाऊँ लेकिन भरोसा नहीं है कि उस वैल्यू चैन में किधर से वह डेटा कैप्चर हो जायेगा| It’s like हम लोग पहले बिल्टी बनाते थे ना, transport receipt और एक कच्चा इनवॉइस ट्रक से साथ जाता था, किधर चेक पोस्ट पर रिकॉर्ड हो गया तो कस्टमर को फ़ोन करते थे यह एन्टर कर लो भाई यह बिल | सच है कि नहीं, मैं exagerate तो नहीं कर रहा हूँ ना? और अगर चेक पोस्ट पर रिकॉर्ड नहीं हुआ, रिश्वत दे के हम निकल गए तो वहां पहुँच के फाड़ दो तो बिल नंबर फ्री हो गया |

This is how everything was going on for so many years, अब 70 साल हो गए हैं, और हम सब उसमें शामिल हैं ना कोई| None of us is outside that system. I include myself in that. We are all part of this story, 70 साल से चल रहा है, fine tune होते जा रहा है, it’s getting sharper and sharper. अब GSTN में यह है कि पेट्रोल पंप का भी सेल आ जायेगा उसमें, चाहे वह GSTN में पेट्रोल डीजल नहीं हो लेकिन जो बाकी सर्विसेज दे रहा है वह तो है तो उसको सेल्स तो डालनी पड़ेगी, सेल्स डालेगा साथ में इनपुट क्रेडिट लेने की कोशिश करेगा | तो आहिस्ते-आहिस्ते कोई न कोई कंप्यूटर में ट्रिगर आएगा यार यह ट्रक up एंड down हो रहा है मुंबई to बैंगलोर and back, चार बार हो के आया, without transporting any goods, चक्कर क्या है? He likes to transport his truck without goods in it.

This system has been so well designed that from every source, data is coming into one box. पहले क्या था एक्साइज वाले को पटा लो, वैट वाले को मालूम ही नहीं पड़ेगा, एक्साइज ने पकड़ा सुलटा दो ख़त्म हो गयी बात, वैट ने पकड़ा तो एक्साइज को मालूम नहीं पड़ेगा, दोनों ने पकड़ा दोनों से सेटल करो, इनकम टैक्स को मालूम नहीं पड़ेगा|

That is going to change. तो जिन लोगों को करना नहीं था उनके लिए सुविधा बहुत हो गयी है, जो ज़बरदस्ती करना पड़ता था उनको टेंशन नहीं है उनके लिए तो यह सिस्टम बहुत ही अच्छा है | एक सेकंड केटेगरी थी जिनके खून में ही था कि हमको तो यही धंधा करना है, who are not willing to pay taxes. Who would ask me this kind of question in such public engagements – why should I pay my tax?

Some of them even often go on strike. And, for such people, they are not concerned about competition, they are not concerned about duty, they are not concerned कि शहर भी चलता है, व्यवस्थाएं बनती हैं, बिजली की व्यवस्था बननी है, सडकें बननी हैं, बिल्डिंग बननी हैं. They will always see the glass half full. They will say वह सड़क टूटी हुई है मैं टैक्स क्यों भरूं? मेरे घर के बाहर बिजली का खम्बा, लाइट नहीं चल रही है, मैं टैक्स क्यों भरूं? बहुत आसन है यह सब चीज़ें बोलना, पर फिर वही बात है कि देश में आज व्यापक रूप से देखें तो आज भी कितने करोड़ों लोग हैं जिनके लिए हमें कुछ करना पड़ेगा |

After all, आप सोचिये, और मैं समझता हूँ इस रूम में जितने लोग बैठे हैं लगभग सभी ने प्रधानमंत्री जी के एक ही आवाहन पर गिव इट up के अन्दर अपनी एलपीजी सब्सिडी छोड़ी होगी, अगर किसी ने नहीं छोड़ी है तो कल monday को छोड़ देना |

But truly, don’t you get the satisfaction that I could have any case afford it, आजकल तो शायद 70-80 रुपये जाता है, ज्यादा है भी नहीं but we can all afford it ना, पर जो हमने give up किया, वह हमने कोई fiscal deficit में नहीं डाला, किसी गरीब की झोपड़ी में कोई महिला, कोई बहन को जो 400 सिगरेट का धुआं फूंकना पड़ता था उसके घर में अगर मुफ्त एलपीजी कनेक्शन गया, isn’t it a very satisfying feeling for all of us? आपको ख़ुशी नहीं होती है उस बात की?

This is somewhat like that,  When we are evading taxes or helping anybody evade tax, keep in mind, कि किसी के पेट पर लात मार रहे हो, कभी किया नहीं जायेगा, आपका हाथ ही नहीं हिलेगा करने के लिए| और एक प्रकार से अब देश बदल रहा है मैं जितनी जगह जाता हूँ ना और विषय की चर्चा करता हूँ, सबसे ज्यादा उत्साह youngsters में देखता हूँ, youngsters बोलते हैं हमको बाप-दादा की तरह धंधा नहीं करना, हमको ईमानदार व्यवस्था बनानी है | रात को आराम से सुख सागर जायेंगे, जूस पियेंगे, पाव भाजी खायेंगे|

So we want to have good time, enjoy ourselves, sleep peacefully at night. पर आजकल तो जब कोई पकड़ा जाता है तो उसका CA को भी लपेटे में लेते हैं ना शायद? पर हम चाहते ही नहीं हैं वह करना, इसलिए मैंने कहा कि व्यवस्था को एकदम सिंपल करने की कोशिश कर रहे हैं | What honorable PM said, Good and Simple Tax. एंड ईमानदारी से, मेरे को कल कोई सॉफ्टवेर दिखा रहा था, KPMG and …had prepared to run this whole process. It’s so simple. मैं अभी तक तो भाषण में बोलता था पर पहली बार मैंने कल ही देखा वह सॉफ्टवेर| It really is simple. It’s so beautifully designed.

All this misinformation campaign of 37 returns and all, it’s all over. आज कोई चर्चा नहीं करता है, once people realize, 37 छोड़ो इसमें तो एक भी रिटर्न नहीं है, ईमानदारी से एक भी रिटर्न नहीं है| मैं खुद एक्साइज के लिए अलग, सेल्स, परचेस, फलाना-ढिमका बनाता था, जब मैं फैक्ट्री चलाता था| I started when I was in 12th Standard, I started a small scale unit. So, I distinctly remember, एक्साइज के लिए अलग रजिस्टर बन रही है, सेल्स टैक्स के लिए अलग बन रही है, हमारे वहां एंट्री टैक्स होती थी उसके लिए अलग बन रही है| पता नहीं प्रोफेशन टैक्स, फलाना-ढिमका, क्या क्या था यह सब कवर हुआ है, क्या हुआ है पता नहीं| But it was so frustrating.

और अभी आपको क्या करना है? एक सेल्स रजिस्टर बनानी है, पीरियड, स्टोरी ओवर| Everything else, it will take some time to get the system fine tune, नहीं तो शुरू में थोड़ा होगा जीएसटी नंबर गलत डाल दिया, नाम गलत डाल दिया, फ़ोन करो, आजकल तो फ़ोन भी फ्री हो गया है| और बोल दो भाई आपने एन्टर नहीं किया ठीक से नंबर, मेरे को परचेस में दिख नहीं रहा है ऑटो-पॉप्युलेट नहीं हुआ है| सामने वाला ढीट है उसको एन्टर नहीं करना है तो आप खुद डाल दो अपना परचेस उसके यहाँ pop-up जायेगा अपने आप| The ability to cheat in this system is getting more and more difficult. If you ask me, near impossible. And, let’s be a party to this change. Let us all conspire, as they say, वह शाहरुख खान का dialogue – पूरी कायनात भी हमारी मदद करेगी अगर हम सब तय कर लें |

Energising India पूरा ही रह गया, हाँ? But, then he had said changing paradigm for professional so I am at least sticking to the subject. Energy is a boring subject. अभी क्या हुआ कि प्रधानमंत्री उस दिन एक किधर इंडिया टुडे को संबोधित कर रहे थे तो उन्होंने कहा कि यह ख़ुशी की बात है कि कुछ न कुछ परिवर्तन हुआ है, बदलाव हुआ है देश में, लेकिन उसके साथ कभी कभी यह भी लगता है कि लोगों की मेमोरी बड़ी शोर्ट होती है| हम मुंबई में हैं तो we are relatively better off. मुंबई में बिजली की समस्या नहीं थी, पहले भी नहीं थी, पर आप देश में किधर भी जाओ और किसी से भी बात करो| अपने ही कोई गाँव, और गुजरात के यहाँ बहुत लोग है, क्योंकि मोदी जी ने 2002-03 में ही सुधार कर लिया था तो वहां भी परिस्थिति काफी अच्छी थी, पर otherwise throughout the country, power was a ज्वलंत issue, always an issue which would agitate citizens of the country.

कोयले की कमी रहती थी, we are all aware of that. Coal always in short supply, it was a black market commodity in this country. So much so, forget the Coalgate scam of 1 lakh 86 thousand crores that CAG had pointed out, I will tell you what the real scam has happened in this country.

Despite having one of the world’s largest reserves of coal, we were so helpless as a nation, our mindset was so weak that we never thought we can be self-sufficient in coal. We had planned our entire power sector based on imported coal. Today, in India 83,100 MW of thermal capacity power plants has been set up, which is either partially, in many cases fully, dependent on imported coal. So, effectively, because of our inability to think boldly that we can produce enough coal, the country has set up so many power plants that we are leaving a 25-year liability to continue to import coal, because these plants cannot use domestic coal.

तो हर साल लाख, एक लाख करोड़ का कोयला इम्पोर्ट होता है इस देश में और मेरे पास आज सिचुएशन ऐसी है कि मार्च 31 को तो 62 मिलियन टन हमने कम कम करके अभी 48 मिलियन टन कोयला pitheads पर पड़ा है, उसमें से एक कंपनी में तो जल भी रहा है तो उसकी एकदम प्रोडक्शन मैंने रुकवाई है |

I am at minus coal production, can you believe? Country coal black market होता था, दो साल में, within last two years, सिचुएशन ऐसी हो गयी कि I am at minus coal production. Last year I had to regulate production the whole year, but still it was a little bit positive. इस साल तो minus चल रहा है first quarter, until today, because whatever I can sell, I am selling. पर यह जो imported coal के ऊपर प्लांट्स लगे हैं तो एक प्रकार से 25 lakh crore की liability हमारे ऊपर क्योंकि हमारी क्षमता नहीं थी यह सोचने की कि हम आत्मनिर्भर हो सकते हैं कोई|

I think it’s a biggest scam than the 186,000 crores. That is the sad part how we have planned our country’s situation over the years. अब यह लाखों करोड़ के stressed assets is a part of the same bad planning. क्या हम कल्पना नहीं कर सकते थे कि shortage कितनी है और कितनी बिजली और लगेगी| Should we have allowed about 1 lakh MW of power plants to mushroom all over the country, looking at a mirage of shortage which really could be met with just implementing a few projects and getting it going and phasing out the balance. And people’s memory is so short that they forget that only until 3 years ago, headlines जब मैं मंत्री बना, one third of the power plants had coal shortage, one third. They had critical, less than 7 days, half of them less than 2 or 3 days, some were running on the Japanese style – Just in time inventory. I don’t think we can afford to have that at least in the power sector.

People have forgotten the number of outages. आप गाँव में चले जाओ, कोई छोटे शहर में चले जाओ, 5-5, 7-7 घंटे बिजली नहीं रहती थी, शाम के समय तो 100% जाती थी, peak hour load होने के कारण| Of course, I am glad that all those things are behind us today. We have surplus coal, surplus energy, surplus transmission lines. लगभग आप कोई भी समय देख लो country में even in peak hours, power is available throughout the country at…. we have an app which we you can also download, which gives you right now, अभी के समय और यह peak hour है, Thursday is a working day, peak hour and this is peak summer, right?

आज का जो Average price रही power की throughout the day was Rs 2.52 on the exchange, at this time peak hour it is Rs 4.13, which means during the earlier part of the day वह 1-1.5 रुपये में भी मिली होगी| Or 100% of the time, as per state’s data, which comes directly into this app from all the states, 100% of the time there was enough transmission ability कि पॉवर जिधर चाहिए जिस स्टेट को खरीद सकते हैं | और आपकी जानकारी के लिए, और अगर आप कोई आंध्र प्रदेश, तेलंगाना, तमिलनाडु, केरल, उत्तर प्रदेश, इन सबकी स्थिति पता करें तो 8 से 14 रुपये के बीच बिजली खरीदते थे यह सब स्टेट्स, between Rs 8 to Rs 14 per kilowatt hour, per unit.

आज एक भी दिन ऐसा नहीं है जब उनको इस दाम पर बिजली खरीदनी पड़ती है, not one day in the whole year. Of course, many other initiatives on renewable energy, today the world is looking at India. आज पूरे विश्व में चर्चा है भारत के renewable energy programme की कि how India is taking the lead in clean energy and giving an example to the world.  Despite the fact that we are not responsible for this problem in the first place. आज जितना Carbon dioxide है ऊपर atmosphere में, भारत का contribution तो 2-2.25% है, supporting 17% of world population. Despite that, as a responsible global citizen we are contributing to mitigate this problem, we are working how to encourage clean energy and reduce problem levels of the world.

I hope all of you have at least changed your bulbs to LED bulbs and tube lights, किसी ने नहीं किया है तो उसकी chartered accountancy degree वापिस ले लीजिये| वैसे तो degree है भी नहीं, I have been telling out institute people that why don’t you talk to Prakash Javadekar, our honourable HRD Minister, we can easily make our… जितना हम मेहनत करते हैं मुझे लगता है medical छोड के और किसी को नहीं करनी पड़ती होगी! मेरे टाइम में तो पास परसेंटेज 1% था, I don’t know आजकल क्या है? 5% है? चलो much better. And I remember in those days, Rank तभी मिलता था if you clear both inter and final in first attempt.

What I am only trying to say is that LEDs, which were sold by one government company called Energy Efficiency Services Limited. तो 2013-14 में this EESL used to procure LED bulbs, 7 Watt bulbs at 310 rupees, base price, उसपर taxes, एक्साइज, सेल्स टैक्स यह सब लगता था, मार्केटिंग कास्ट, इंटरेस्ट कास्ट, डिस्ट्रीब्यूशन कास्ट| फिर सरकार 100 रुपये सब्सिडी देती थी उसपर, और यह EESL साल में 6 लाख बल्ब बेचती थी, 6 lakh bulbs in a year. 2013-14 की बात कर रहा हूँ, बहुत इतिहास की बात नहीं कर रहा हूँ| अभी यही कंपनी, the same government company, सरकारी कंपनी है, is selling 6 lakh bulbs every day.

And which is why I said जो रेगे साहब ने सिखाया जो हमने CA में सीखा उसका लाभ कैसे हुआ, एक्चुअली मुझे पहले 3-4 महीने तो बताना नहीं, बाहर कहीं लोग मेरा मजाक उड़ायेंगे, 3-4 महीने तो मुझे मालूम ही नहीं था कि यह division मेरे अंडर आता है Bureau of Energy Efficiency. एक दिन एक cabinet note आया तो मैंने कहा यह क्या है, what have I got to do with this, सर यह तो पूरा department है Bureau of Energy Efficiency in the Ministry of Power, स्टडी किया तो मालूम पड़ा 310 में खरीदते हैं और 6 लाख बेचते हैं, और फ़ायदा कितना? कि जहाँ 60 W या 100 W का बल्ब लगता है वह 7 या 9 W के बल्ब से उतनी ही रोशनी आ सकती है | We are chartered accountants, इसलिए मैंने कहा अगर किसी ने नहीं बदला है अभी तक he doesn’t deserve to be a CA. इतना drastic saving and I tell you you just whoever has not, change all your lighting to LEDs, tube light भी आ गयी है अभी तो, change your ceiling fan to DC or energy efficient fans and if you can change your air conditioning to 4-star, 5-star air conditioning, see the drastic change in your electricity.

अच्छा गरीब के घर में तो यह सब बाकी चीज़ें कम होती हैं, पंखा, लाइट अधिकांश गरीबों के मध्यम वर्गीय घरों में तो यह होता है, हो सकता है एक AC हो या कुछ| आप सोचिये क्या drastic reduction on electricity bill हो सकता है| I calculated on a broad-brush way, 40,000 करोड़ रुपये सालाना consumer bill में बचेगा| अब 6 लाख बल्ब एक साल में बेचेंगे तो तो मुझे तो छोड़ो मेरी 10 पीढियां आगे तक भी चलेंगी तब तक India में replace नहीं होगा|  Because the speed of demand will be more than the speed of sale. So it had to be changed, the dimension had to be changed.

Subsidy doesn’t help any project. आप 100 रुपये सब्सिडी रखो, वित्त मंत्री मुझे 100 करोड़ रुपये भी दे दें तो अगर 100 रुपये मुझे सब्सिडी देनी है एक बल्ब पर तो मैं 1 करोड़ ही बल्ब बेच पाउँगा, 1000 करोड़ दे दे तो 10 करोड़ बल्ब बेच पाउँगा, country में शायद हमने तभी अनुमान लगाया था 77 करोड़ बल्ब, incandescent bulb, पुराने ज़माने के बिकते थे हर साल| तो हमने एक टारगेट रखा 77 crore bulbs बेचने का| i am sure country में तो 100-150, 125-150 बल्ब होंगे यूज़ में, offices, hotels, all other institutions put together. ऐसी परिस्थिति में we decided we should scale it up but then we should make a value proposition. तो मैंने ऐसे ही बैठे-बैठे मीटिंग में कहा यह बल्ब Rs 99 में खरीदना, मेरा बड़ा मजाक उड़ाया सबने, and I am sure room में जाकर officers ने बोला होगा बेवक़ूफ़ बच्चा नया मंत्री बना है हवा में बात कर रहा है| I said 99 में खरीदना है, let’s engage with all the sellers और 120 में बेचना है, 10 रुपये upfront लेंगे और बाकी 11 महीने या 10 महीने 10-10 रुपये ले के जितनी saving है उससे कम पैसा हर महीने देना पड़े customer को जिससे यह व्यापक रूप में बड़ा हो सके|

And I was banking on three things – economies of scale, honesty, एकदम भ्रष्ट्राचार मुक्त खरीदेंगे और technological advancement होगी. Best technology आएँगी जब scale दिखेगा, 6 लाख में कौन यहाँ पर फैक्ट्री लगाएगा, कौन manufacture करेगा| आप को जानकर ख़ुशी होगी, अभी नहीं अब तो लगभग सवा साल से यह बल्ब 38 से 40 रुपये के बीच में हो गया है, 310 से 38 पर पहुँच गया है, 85% reduction. 7W बल्ब के बदले हम 9W देते हैं फिर भी इतना दाम कम हुआ, साथ ही साथ suppliers कोई ऐरे-गैरे नहीं हैं, Rs 38 में 5 करोड़ बल्ब तो सिर्फ Phillips ने सप्लाई किये, Phillips, the world’s largest lighting company. 9W bulb from Phillips at Rs 38, 5 crore. Osram, Crompton Greaves, Surya, top notch companies.

हमारे जो स्टैंडर्ड्स हैं, उसको अब तो चलो अमेरिका में परिस्थिति बदल गयी है जो पहले Energy Secretary थे, Ernie Moniz, वह विश्व में जाते थे तो भारत के specs ऐसे दिखाते थे कि follow the Indian example.

यह होती है 56 इंच की छाती की दुनिया हमारा Example फॉलो करती है. बदलाव इतना हुआ कि वही सरकारी कंपनी ने गत दो वर्ष और दो महीने, 1 मई, 2015 को पहला बल्ब बेचा था, 2 वर्ष और 2 महीने, और आज 6 दिन हो गए| उसमें लगभग, as we speak, 1 minute before we are speaking here, उसके 24,78,54,134 LED bulbs इस देश में 2 वर्ष और 2 महीने में बीके, एक ही कंपनी द्वारा, EESL, उसका public issue आएगा तो insider information देना ….. उसका टर्नओवर 35 करोड़ था जब मैं मंत्री बना, 2019 का टारगेट 10,000 crore, with a reduction of this kind मतलब वह 35 करोड़ था 310 के टाइम धंधा करके, reduction के बाद 10,000 करोड़ का turnover.

Of course, they started operations in Nepal, Bangladesh, in May they started operation in UK also. London is now using bulbs sold by an Indian company to Londoners. और इसके इलावा Private sector ने अपना अलग बेचा है, private sector ने, LED industry has sold 41.44 crore bulbs till June 2017, 41+24 = 65 crore bulbs sold in two years in our country. Of course, इसका pollution पर भी impact होता है, almost 80 million tonnes of carbon dioxide हर साल कम हो जायेगा, our ambition, 80 million tonnes every year. 11000 करोड़ unit electricity के कम लगेंगे, स्वाभाविक है ना, 90 और 100 W के बल्ब के बदले 7 और 9W.

What I am only trying to tell you is प्रधानमंत्री याद है आपको बोलते थे, Speed, Skill और Scale, यह उदाहरण है| और ऐसे मैं मतलब रट्टा नहीं मारकर आया हूँ आज के लिए, पर ऐसे मैं 500 example दे सकता हूँ, कल सुबह तक बैठ सकता हूँ| It is a humble small example I gave, mindset change. Country has to go beyond और अब समय आ गया है country has to lead the world.

While I can go on and on क्योंकि छप्पन इंच की छाती की मैंने बात की थी, मैं एक उदाहरण आपको ज़रूर शेयर करूँगा because I was witness to that and it’s a day I will never forget in my life whatever years I live. We were in Paris, COP21, जब यह पेरिस का समझौता हुआ क्लाइमेट चेंज का, 29 नवम्बर, honorable Prime Minister reached there, यह 30 नवंबर की बात है, 2015, कुल चौबीस घंटे थे प्रधानमंत्री के पास, 24 hours, कोई विश्व का बड़ा देश नहीं है जिसके राष्ट्रपति या प्रधानमंत्री ने उनसे टाइम नहीं सीक किया हो उस पीरियड में कि हमें आपसे मिलना है | यह Israel visit चल रही है ना, I will share with you Israel का भी.

The PM was sitting on a sofa in the lounge in between at lunch time on a sofa across और हमारी, प्रधानमंत्री और हम लोग यहाँ बैठे थे| He sent a message that he would like to meet the PM for two minutes, मतलब literally सांस लेकर बैठे थे meetings कर करके, अच्छा प्रधानमंत्री is very fluent in English, But अंतर्राष्ट्रीय protocol में ऐसा है कि when you are engaging with a foreign leader तो एक translator always रहना चाहिए, interpreter रहना चाहिए| अब वह interpreter भोजन करने गयी हुई थी, तो कैसे करें अभी वह आना चाहते हैं मिलने हमारे interpreter भोजन करने गयी है| तो so I volunteered to sit in and be as an interpreter. Of course, ज़रूरत नहीं पड़ी, they both conversed in English 2-3 minute के लिए, अभी याद आ गया Israel की visit हो रही है इसलिए, 2 minute की meeting के लिए he was looking forward और हमने तो देखा ही क्या reception Israel में मिला है | पर जो मैं आपको बाताना चाह रहा था वह अमेरिका के संबंध में है |

प्रेसिडेंट ओबामा के साथ bilateral था, उसी बीच जपान के शिंज़ो आबेसान ने रिक्वेस्ट की I want to meet Prime Minister for a few minutes because he was coming to India soon after that. I think January or February he came to India. वह जो उसके तैयारी के बारे में चर्चा करना चाहते थे, तो प्रेसिडेंट ओबामा की मीटिंग थोड़ी से शिफ्ट करके Abe san was given a time. प्रधानमंत्री जी उस मीटिंग के लिए गए थे तो प्रकाश जावडेकर और मैं हम दोनों थे, और हम दोनों आपके महाराष्ट्र के ही मंत्री हैं, you can draw satisfaction or happiness out of the fact that जो यह दृश्य हुआ उसके बाद, और हम दोनों थोड़ा पहले पहुँच गए जहाँ पर bilateral था ओबामा जी के साथ| Normally, इसमें protocol यह रहता है कि एक holding room होता है जिसमें जो भी पहले आ गया, either मोदी जी या ओबामा वह उस holding room में रहेंगे when the other comes then both will come into the bilateral room. That’s a right way. One cannot come and wait in advance. Barack Obama and I was in the holding room, प्रकाश जावडेकर और मैं और Secretary Kerry, हम 3 passage में बात कर रहे थे और बाजू में bilateral room था.

और Obama must have got bored, anybody will get bored sitting in the room, मोदी जी को थोड़ा विलंभ हो गया शायद लम्बी चली शिंज़ो आबे सान के साथ मीटिंग| तो Obama came out and क्योंकि मुझे पहचानते थे पुराना जब आये थे यहाँ पर तो पहले मेरे कंधे पर हाथ रखा – You have to sort out the Paris Agreement. I said Excellency; I am not the negotiator he is. प्रकाश की तरफ point किया, दूसरा हाथ प्रकाश के कंधे पर रखा and you know he is a tall person so he had both of us like this. और लगभग 20-25 मिनट तक वह हम दोनों को समझाते रहा कि भारत को नेतृत्व देना है, Paris को अगर समझौता करना है तो only India can do.

He was  also an MoS at that time, I was also MoS. Now he is a Cabinet Minister. But, just imagine, we had two junior Ministers in Modiji’s government. America all said and done is the most powerful nation, superpower, biggest economy, all of that. उनका राष्ट्रपति हम दोनों के साथ engage कर रहा है और यह ताकत भारत के 125 करोड़ लोगों की है, यह कोई मोदी जी या प्रकाश या मेरी नहीं है| यह आपकी ताकत है|

It’s a reflection on your strength. Your ability to change the world, the destiny of the world. That was the day I felt 56-inch यह होती है| It was truly a great feeling at that point of time. पर challenges आते रहेंगे हमारे सबके काम में. We have to achieve it. We are all CAs. Challenges आयेंगे, we will achieve it. We will accomplish. We will do better. We move ahead. And, really chartered accountants have a can-do attitude. We are CAs. We can do it. But, whether we want to do it for public good, for nation’s good. Or we want to do it for a myopic good. That is a choice ladies and gentlemen we all have to make.

And I appeal to you, it’s a great moment in India’s economic history. It’s a moment where we can be the harbingers of change or consign our country to a fate for which our future generations will never forgive us. Let us together work to make India that सोने की चिड़िया once again which it is reported it was once upon a time.

Thank you very much.

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