Industry must not violate the spirit of law, says Piyush Goyal

Piyush Goyal has a warning note for companies.
The government will take the "strictest of action" against businesses violating the law, said Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday, referring to controversies involving e-commerce and audit companies.

Goyal, in an interaction with members of Confederation of Indian Industry in Mumbai, said companies should respect the law and not try to circumvent it through loopholes.

"I can assure you that nobody at all who has not done any wrong will have any problem. But at the same time, those who have indulged in any wrong doing, I can equally assure you that there will be the strictest of action because truly that is the only way, we can change the culture and mind set of this country," he said.

Goyal warned companies against circumventing rules on foreign direct investment (FDI) in e-commerce. "We have a policy that in multi-brand retail, only 51 per cent is allowed when it comes to FDI. We stand by that and we are firm on that and I would urge everybody to follow that, to respect that. (The) Moment you recognise that reality and make your business accordingly, there will be no problem." 

Goyal didn't name PwC, Deloitte, KPMG and EY, but urged the "big four" auditors to stick to the law.

"I would urge you all. If there are any lawyers in the room, please pardon me and if there are those four bigs (sic) in the room, double pardon me, but please stop giving advice which is not in the spirit of the law that is prevalent in India.

Please do not try to misguide any investor into finding those elements" from which a company can circumvent norms." 

"Go by the spirit of the law. Spirit of the law takes round-tripping very seriously and if any of you have done that, better to acknowledge that and come clean and close the chapter, rather than struggling to evade the law of the land," he said. 
He advised not to find some comma and full stop which can give an exit route to do a back door entry, as "that cannot be possible and that cannot even be possible for us to overlook".

Talking about some issues on a free-trade agreement with Asean (Association of South East Asian Nations) which India has implemented, Goyal said he has raised those matters with members of the 10-member bloc.

Some clauses in that agreement are "onerous" and "I have flagged" those with the concerned countries, he said.
To boost manufacturing, the minister said he has asked the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) to identify 50 sectors and work on those.

He also asked the industry and exporters not do depend too much on government subsidies and instead focus on improving competitiveness and quality of products. 

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