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Everybody with black money will be targeted by agencies: FM

<p>Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said at the Express Adda hosted by The Indian Express in Bengaluru on Wednesday that the Finance Commission determines the tax devolution share of each state and that no Finance Minister, not even the “wickedest” one, can alter it in favor of one state over another. She said that global concerns are more concerning for the economy than local ones.</p>
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<p>“The Central government’s only responsibility is to follow the Finance Commission’s orders. I’m told by the Finance Commission, “You give this much per month,” and I have to comply. It is impossible for any Finance Minister, including myself, to modify it to favor one side over the other. It’s everything there, so even the most evil Finance Minister couldn’t pull it off,” she said.</p>
<p>Sitharaman said, “It’s now getting into this very dangerous threshold of’southern states together,’” in reference to recent statements made by opposition leaders of southern states together demanding their rights. “We’ll have a separate southern state,” said a responsible member of parliament who is the brother of the Karnataka deputy chief minister. It is not possible to go that far. I would never, ever stand by someone who demands, “We in the southern states.”</p>
<p>She said that she is unable to provide the Finance Commission with favorable or unfavorable terms of reference. “…I have kept it to a minimum this time around so that the Finance Commission can take a call.” States, please have a seat with the Finance Commission and resolve this,” she exclaimed.</p>
<p>Regarding the growing percentage of the Central government’s cesses and surcharges that are not shared with the states, Sitharaman said that this is allowed under the Constitution. Then, would you alter the Constitution? I am allowed to impose a cess and surcharge under the Constitution. The Constitution for everything else, but not for this… She said that the central government is fully entitled to impose taxes like cess and surcharges.</p>
<p>While speaking with P Vaidyanathan Iyer, executive editor of The Indian Express, and Anant Goenka, executive director of The Indian Express Group, at the Adda, Sitharaman expressed concern about potential changes on the outside rather than local problems.</p>
<p>“Those are the things that need to be addressed: is it the conflict, not one, two, is it the uncertainty, Red Sea, or will it simply finish and fester? The concerns include the price of crude oil today or tomorrow, the price of natural gas today or tomorrow, and the price of fertilizer today or tomorrow, the speaker said.</p>
<p>Sitharaman selected private investments when asked which domestic problem she is most worried about, out of employment, monopolies, privatization, rural consumption, and private investments.</p>
<p>She said that there is not even the slightest hint of corruption against the administration of Narendra Modi. India has become appealing, she said, but only due of its stable policies, predictable taxes, propensity for further reforms and openness, and total lack of corruption.</p>
<p>Regarding the impending Lok Sabha elections, Sitharaman said that having a strong majority in both Houses of Parliament would benefit India. “A desire to play about with the ideas of ‘Can it be a coalition government?’ or ‘Can it be a government with fewer members?’ cannot exist right now. No, India is going through a very important moment. It can’t be fiddling with the figures. She said, “We require the House’s strength.”</p>
<p>The government will prioritize changes for the next generation, but according to her, states may do more than the center. “The Union government is not the judge of anything. At that level, one may do what is otherwise feasible via state governments. Certain concerns are exclusive to certain states. Numerous things are occurring in the states, and many of them are happening so quickly that they will set an example for many others to follow. The states may reach a consensus; the Center does not necessarily have to do that, the speaker said.</p>
<p>Regarding the function of investigative agencies in scrutinizing firms, and some of them referring to such acts as ICED (Income Tax, CBI, and ED), Sitharaman said that while the government does not object to purchases made with tax-paid funds, agencies would carry out their duties if that is not the case.</p>
<p>“Agencies shouldn’t be employed? They will pursue any individual with illicit wealth. Get ICED. If they are using white money for it, it doesn’t bother me. Allow them to get properties from wherever. South Pole. Moon. Please use tax-paid money to purchase it. Of course, I’ll pursue you if you proceed with alternative forms of payment. India will be included to the FATF’s “grey” list if we don’t. Your investments won’t happen once you’re on the gray list. There won’t be any wealthy visitors to your nation, she said.</p>