Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday criticised Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram and the UPA government for trying to impose “service tax” on the money collected through sale of tickets at political rallies addressed by him.
“Our Union minister has claimed that he is working hard. I was thinking, on what issue is he working so hard on. Only last evening I realised that an important decision has been taken to increase the revenue of the country…. Service tax will be imposed on Modi’s speeches,” said Modi while addressing a gathering of over 30 top officials of various banks and insurance companies at a “national seminar” on “Financial Services — A Key Driver For Economic Growth” organised at the GIFT city project here.
Among those in the audience were Chanda Kochhar, MD ICICI Bank Ltd, SS Mundra CMD, Bank of Baroda, Aditya Puri, MD, HDFC Bank, G Srinivasan, CMD, New India Assurance Co. Ltd, and AK Roy, CMD, General Insurance Company of India.
“I am happy that my speeches are contributing to the nation’s coffers,” said BJP’s prime ministerial candidate while referring to the excise department’s move to send notices to him and the BJP for the rallies where tickets were sold to those attending them.
However, the notices were withdrawn on Tuesday. Modi also mocked the vote-on-account presented in Parliament by Chidambaram. The verbal spat between the two leaders began a few days back when Modi mocked the Harvard University-educated Chidambaram by stating the nation should be led by hard work and not by degrees from noted institutions.
On Wednesday, Modi also called upon the leaders from the Banking Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) sector to invest in GIFT project. “We have a vision. If all of you join us, the nation can be served better,” he said at the seminar organised by the Government of Gujarat in association with the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), Indian Merchant Chambers (IMC) & Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT).
Earlier in the day, Modi held a close door discussion with heads of various banks and insurance companies. Prabodh Thakker, chairman of Global Insurance and Investment Services Pvt Ltd said, “We discussed a host of issues including the need for predictable and consistent laws in the country. Both bankers and insurance companies said that they did not want micro-management by regulators and stressed for deeper penetration.”
Meanwhile, Utkarsh Palnitkar, partner, Head of Advisory Services, KPMG said the coming together of the CEOs and CMDs from banking and insurance sectors across the country at Gandhinagar should be credited “to the political leadership” of Gujarat.
“It is the most opportune time to organise such a summit, when India aspires to become an economic superpower,” Palnitkar said
in the opening session of the seminar.