Says scams and retrospective taxation have ‘hurt’ the economy, wants govt to give an ‘irreversible commitment’ that law of the land has sanctity.

Mumbai : The outgoing Chairman of the Tata group Ratan Tata is “rattled” by India’s current image emerging from scams and retrospective taxation, and wants the government to give an “irreversible commitment” that law of the land has sanctity.  “Never before has India had that kind of image,” he said in a freewheeling interview to PTI three weeks ahead of his retirement on December 28 after serving the group for 50 years including 21 years as Chairman.

India has been “hurt” by scams, court process and some of the retrospective taxation acts which had given “a sense of uncertainty to investors in terms of the credibility of the government”, he said. “You get FIPB approval to invest in India and to own a company, you get a licence to operate and, then three years later the same government… tells you that your licences are illegal and that you have lost everything. “This leads to a great deal of uncertainty. Never before has India had that kind of image. So that really rattled me because then anything can happen,” the Tata patriarch said.

India must give an “irreversible commitment” that law of the land has sanctity and the government approval cannot be taken lightly, he emphasised, adding “otherwise India would be taken lightly”.

Describing FDI in multi-brand retail as a significant step, Tata said that it would help the consumer in terms of having an opportunity to choose, hopefully at lower cost. “If it doesn’t do that then the model has failed.”

Tata said the problem of crony capitalism can be done away with basically by the law being implemented in its spirit.

“If we had stronger legislation, with no exceptions based on who you are or whom you know, then I think crony capitalism would finally find its own limit,” he said.

On Tatas doing business without compromises, Tata said, “it is still possible and you still can grow. It is a great pride to me and happiness is that you can go home and sleep you didn’t succumb. “You may lose… and you may not get the airline you want. Forces work against you. So may lose some. You may have some scars on you but on the whole I don’t think we have done badly.”  — PTI

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