Ved Jain, FCA, former President of ICAI and a member of several expert panels constituted by the government from time to time shares his view on direct tax moves by the NDA.

On a scale of 1 to 5, how would you rate NDA on direct taxes?

As a professional tax practitioner and irrespective of any political affiliations, I will say that in these 10 years, tax reforms on direct taxes have been remarkable. A lot of measures have been taken to make life easier for the taxpayer and at the same time, ensure that compliance improves. Widening of the tax base, use of technology, reforms in tax rates are some of the moves. The reduction of tax rates for companies helps us in our effort to become the manufacturing capital of the world, in view of the China slowdown.

A rating is a difficult question, but looking at the reforms, it is nothing less than 5; or something between 4 and 5 since reforms are a continuous process and there is scope for improvement in the next 10 years or so.

What was the gamechanger?

I will say that technology upgradation and use of technology is the gamechanger. I can say that the tech of the IT department here is among the best in the world because I have had the privilege of looking at the systems in US, Europe, UK, Australia and New Zealand.

The unfinished agenda…

One issue that agitates me is the trust deficit between the taxpayer and tax administration. This has to be bridged. One way it can be done is by making the law simpler. While those drafting may take care to ensure there is no ambiguity, the mind can always find some gap. Tax administration has to pro- actively issue guidance where there is confusion or potential for confusion.