Bangalore: In an attempt to fight corruption, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), one of the country’s leading trade bodies, will work closely with the Union finance ministry to highlight instances of corruption and harassment by tax authorities of small and medium companies that follow rules and keep proper accounts of their business.
“The issue of harassment would be taken up with officials in Delhi. It is to encourage businesses, who follow rules, that they need not fear any trouble,” said R. Seshasayee, president of CII.
The finance ministry has identified and assigned officials who will work with the industry body to take action against those who harass honest businessmen. Meanwhile, CII has begun to educate its members about the new initiative, Seshasayee, who is also the managing director of truck maker Ashok Leyland Ltd, said.
“We can’t be ranked as highly corrupt by Transparency International and talk about how glorious a country we are and how we have a booming economy,” Seshasayee said.
Transparency International, the global corruption watchdog, ranked India as the worst performer among 30 nations last year in its Bribe Payers Index, with a score of 4.62. A score of 10 indicates a perception of no corruption, while zero means corruption is seen as rampant.
“Corporates can go on doing their work without being on a denial mode. It also will spread the message that they need not worry and can do something to address corruption,” said Seshasayee. Small businesses interact with officials from the customs, central excise and income tax deparments at the Centre and regularly deal with officials of the commercial taxes department, corporation and other bodies at the state and local level.
“We have started with the finance ministry. Soon, the state governments will also be involved and address issues locally,” Seshasayee said.