Saturday, 29 April 2017

Fiscal year Jan- Dec for India: Pros & Cons

  • While the exact reason remains unknown, the fact remains that most country's financial year differ from the calendar year.
  • In the absence of any world standard practice for accounting or fiscal year, any change to any other calendar would not result in India's aligning itself with the world.
  • January 1st is start of English calendar year. Indian calendar year starts on  Vaisakha / Ugadi / Gudipadawa which falls in April.
  • Changing India's financial year from April-March to any other combination would serve no purpose but causes a huge avoidable disruption at a big cost for the country's trade and industry.
  • It will mean a change in book-keeping, accounting software, taxation systems, human resource practices involving huge costs for both big and small industries. The change would give rise to issues such as extensive amendments to tax laws and systems, financial procedures relating to expenditure authorization, and other matters.
  • The budget will have to be presented in November. Parliament sessions will have to be reworked, along with changes in data collection and working of state governments.
  • Financial year has to be same as the tax year. The taxation period will just change to a new 12-month period.
  • The advantages from the changeover would be too minimal.
  • Fiscal Jan-Dec might be advantageous to some businesses in global trading, but disadvantages especially to agriculture sector far out weigh miniscule benefits it offers. Then why needlessly disturb the present Apr-Mar fiscal which we are all used to.
  • A change in financial year could upset collection of data from the markets, and it would take a long time before normal rhythm of the fiscal cycle is restored.
  • Our economy is predominantly agriculture related and the crop season in India starts in April and ends in March. All data is available for making budget decisions for coming fiscal year. January falls in between busy Rabi season with least data available for budget planning.
  • Nov and Dec are festival months. The inventory is very fast moving during this period and it would be difficult to close the books of accounts during this period. Also many employees availing vacation during this period makes it difficult to close the books during this period.
  • Even budget date shifting to Feb 1st, will be without accurate kharif crop actual data and rabi crop projections and budget proposals will be devoid of any merit based proposals for agriculture for next fiscal year.
  • Such a change of fiscal from Apr-Mar to Jan-Dec may not reform the budgetary process in India, and is no guarantee for improving the quality and efficacy of provisions/policies, especially for Rural India.
I don’t see the need to change the accounting period. What needs to be done is timely passage of the budget, so that the construction period is not hampered. In any case, for construction, the monsoon months are a lost period ... Pronab Sen, former chief statistician

My View:
British left us with English as widely used language in education, administration etc. Can we discard that with an executive edict?  If we are too obsessed with Hindutva and hatred for British, why do we speak English at most places and educate our children in English schools? There are a number of blows a body can bear before going into a coma. Failed demonetization was a major blow. GST implementation will be another. Budget advanced to February 1st and now fiscal change to Jan-Dec will only create chaos & confusion but will not increase our GDP or per capita income or government revenues or quality of living. Finally, why does Modi want discard British and embrace Americans? What for? With no tangible benefits changing fiscal year associated with expenditure, confusion, disturbances etc makes no sense.

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