Laying down Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) agenda 2018-19, the trade body’s newly-appointed president Rakesh Bharti Mittal said that rationalising the goods and services tax (GST) by extending its coverage and reducing slabs was one of the key economic imperatives for the government.
In the industry’s court, Mittal said, doing business ethically and transparently was an important objective. While addressing the media, along with Mittal, Kotak Mahindra Bank Vice-Chairman and MD Uday Kotak said that the government needed to re-look certain provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code including those that prohibit promoters from buying back their own stressed assets and issues around contingent liabilities that have not become real liabilities.
Referring to Section 29A of the IBC which prohibits promoters from buying back their own stressed assets, Kotak said: “The challenge is not at this stage but as we go into the future, as we go into smaller companies where you may not get even one bid. How are we going to handle that situation. Are we going to force those companies into liquidation where probably in some of those situations the only buyer may be the promoter at some price.”
Asked about the role of the Reserve Bank of India in the controversies involving Punjab National Bank and ICICI Bank, he said: “I think essentially the function of a regulator, is broadly three categories: regulation, supervision and enforcement and as long as the regulator looks at these three both individually and holistically, I think that is how they should be looking at.”
Kotak said that in terms of enforcement, the regulator has raised issues about the power of the regulator versus the significant shareholder if it happens to be the state (Indian government) terming it a matter of debate. He said that one of the biggest challenges at present is ethics, values and governance. “This is something which is at a premium. We need to move the Indian society to a much better level of governance as we go into the future.”