Mumbai: Reliance Group Chairman Anil Ambani on Thursday said the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that will be rolled out on July 1 was just not another piece of reform or transformation but underlined the country’s economic freedom.
“GST is not just another piece of reform or transform, however significant. GST is the liberation of our economic imagination. It is our economic freedom,” Ambani told an event of the Association of Mutual Funds in India here.
He said what Prime Minister Narendra Modi had done in three years on GST could not be done in the previous 30 years.
“The real promise of GST is that promise of economic liberation. The promise of `One Nation. One Tax. One market’,” Ambani added.
“Seventy years ago, at the stroke of the midnight hour, our first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, spoke movingly in the Central Hall of Parliament about India’s tryst with destiny.
“At the same midnight hour tomorrow, as our honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi rises to address a waiting nation from the same august Central Hall, India will be set on course for another historic tryst with destiny,” he added.
Ambani said of all our earthly inventions, the free market is perhaps the greatest force for economic good in human history. “A force for generating wealth and transforming lives.”
The greatest achievement of the government lies in the area of financial inclusion, he said
“From insolvency code to NPA (non-performing assets) resolution, the present government has undertaken a fundamental overhaul of India’s financial infrastructure while consolidating and strengthening the banking sector,” he added.
Ambani said India was today in the midst of a massive digital revolution, which was allowing young ambitious entrepreneurs to think big and execute bigger.
The spectacular rise of e-commerce and related businesses in recent years was a testimony to what technology can help achieve, he said.
“It is time to learn from that experience. If e-commerce can exploit the power of technology to reach out to India’s hinterlands and create better consumer experience, so can India’s financial sector,” Ambani added.
Speaking about the mutual fund industry, Ambani said the industry started off with UTI in 1964 and for the next 30 years there was no private player in the market.
“And it is fitting that the man who is widely regarded as the father of Capital markets and the equity cult in India — my late visionary father, Dhirubhai Ambani — was among the first to sense the potential that lay ahead.
“We at Reliance, together with my late brother-in-law, Shyam Kothari, shared the exclusive privilege of launching India’s first-ever private sector mutual fund in 1993 — Kothari Pioneer Mutual Fund. Our own offering followed soon afterwards with the launch of Reliance Mutual Fund in 1995,” Ambani said.
He said while nine out of ten Indians have a mobile connection and three out of ten a smart phone, only one in 25 Indians had an investment in a mutual fund.
Addressing Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Chairman Ajay Tyagi, who was also present at the event, Ambani said the industry needs to further simplify the on-boarding process for new investors.
“Make mutual fund investment even simpler. Allow anyone with a legitimate Bank Account to invest in financial products since their Bank KYC is already in place. Ensure better utilisation of technology to improve penetration and facilitate faster”transactions.”
He urged SEBI chairman to simplify advertising norms to help communicate the value proposition of mutual funds better.
“In five years’ time, India will celebrate 75 years of Independence. There can be no better gift from our mutual fund industry to the nation than an increase in the number of individual investor folios from the current 6 crore to 60 crore,” Ambani added.