Union Finance Secretary and senior IAS officer T.V. Somanathan stated on Saturday that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to substitute the roles currently fulfilled by auditors and accountants. He made these remarks while delivering the CA S. Hariharan memorial lecture in the city.
Somanathan emphasised the specific economic implications of AI and highlighted how the integration of automation into business processes becomes considerably more influential with the incorporation of artificial intelligence. According to him, this technological advancement can substantially supplant the responsibilities traditionally undertaken by auditors and accountants.
The finance secretary expressed his anticipation of an expansion in credit lending within the Indian economy. Somanathan observed that private sector credit in India currently accounts for approximately 55 per cent of the GDP, in stark contrast to China, where it surpasses 180 per cent. He cautioned against regarding the Chinese level as healthy or desirable but asserted that India’s current credit level appears excessively low. He advocated for it to increase to a range between 100-120 per cent of the GDP, contending that this expansion would facilitate greater investment and economic growth.
Somanathan stated, “Projects that may remain stagnant could gain momentum if they receive sufficient credit. Nevertheless, the challenge lies in augmenting credit volumes while mitigating the occurrence of non-performing assets (NPAs), a euphemism for bad debts. This increase in credit availability will subsequently stimulate demand for accountants.”
The Union finance secretary also projected a continuous rise in the number of income tax payers in India in the years ahead. He envisioned an annual growth rate of 6-7 per cent in the number of income tax payers, which he believed would lead to an increased demand for proficient accountants in the country.