Mr. Balesh Kumar is the Principal Additional Director General, Directorate General of Goods and Services Tax Intelligence; n Indian Revenue Services Officer by profession; a learned and humble gentleman. Legal Bites was pleased to interview him.
Here are some moments from the interview:
Legal Bites: Sir, what is your opinion constitutes the biggest threat to the security of India, both externally and internally?
Mr. Balesh Kumar: In my opinion, the biggest threat to the security of this country is from Terrorism. Parts of these terrorist activities are internal but largely they are exported from outside the country. Such threats are not only jeopardizing the physical security part, not only the borders but also the integrity of the nation. This has, in fact, become a threat to the economic security of the country as well – which I must say – needs to be fortified against terrorism by our armed forces at the borders.
As I have said earlier as well, that a strong environment means a strong India. The 3rd dimension of terrorism is now the threat to cyber security in India. You’re running this website – www.legalbites.in – similarly many such websites are facing problems like unauthorized hacking of their websites. I insist that people take adequate precautions and adequate security measures to protect their intellectual property and information databases do not get exposed and become vulnerable to threatening forces coming from within or outside the country.
Legal Bites: Sir, please share your opinions on the recent judgments on the issues of Right to Privacy.
Mr. Balesh Kumar: As far as the question is concerned regarding Right to Privacy, it has been declared as a Fundamental Right by the Honorable Supreme Court of India and therefore it needs to be respected.
There are certain provisions in the Constitution where certain subjects fall under the realm of privacy which can be made to use a mandated machinery for the purpose of abetting the threat to security in India.
In addition, the project of NATGRID is still on. The work is in progress. Adequate safeguards and precautions will be built into it so as to do full respect to the judgments of the board.
Legal Bites: Sir, kindly present a broad stance on the steps that will be taken in the prevention of tax evasion?
Mr. Balesh Kumar: You see, first of all, we need to have a full intimation about the GST, and then we would have to look at a mechanism whereby the honest tax-payer is not harassed. At the same time, the system throws out intelligence alerts to look where the tax-evasion is taking place and then take steps to plug those tax evasion.
Legal Bites: What were the circumstances which made you choose Civil Services as a career?
Mr. Balesh Kumar: It’s a question that I must answer with the admission that the kind of education I had in the family and since school, Civil Services was always an option which I looked as for taking it up as a career. Having said that, let me also admit, the kind of job opportunities which you have today in India were probably not there when I was looking at the Civil Services exams in 1986-87. The Civil Services remains till now a very important career avenue whereby one can do a lot of direct service to the nation and the people living in this nation including the common man. I think these have been the motivating factors behind joining the Services and to remain as part of the Services.
Probably this goal was starting to take form when I was pursuing my graduation.
Legal Bites: Sir, with regard to the recent incident at Ryan International School – in the backdrop of this, how important in your opinion should surveillance and the security of a school be given importance to?
Mr. Balesh Kumar: You see, the security needs to be beefed up. Surveillance or installation of cameras is only one means. We have to always keep in mind, that there are in every institution, places where privacy has to be respected. So, keeping that in view, I think, you need to come out with a very balanced and harmonized approach towards these kinds of incidents taking place within a school because it is very important to realize that schools are one place where small children come with a stern assurance in the minds of the parents as well as the students – that they will be secure there. One needs to create an environment for that. One of the steps towards that could have been – any personnel being employed in schools or for that matter any higher education institution, should go through a strict background verification process before employment.
Legal Bites: Sir, what suggestions would you give to the aspirants of Civil Services?
Mr. Balesh Kumar: I would emphasize on being much focused in their approach and their ambition. It is an examination that is taken by a very large number of students – therefore one need to build a long time schedule – probably a year of study. One should also be well versed with Current Affairs and build up one’s General Knowledge. A well-read person does well in the General Studies paper and will also do well in their interviews. Lastly, consistent hard-work over a period of a year should result in success.
Legal Bites: Thank you very much, Sir.