Candid Conversation with Prof. Mugdha Kulkarni

We had the opportunity of interviewing Dr. Mughdha Kulkarni. Here are the excerpts from the interview..

  1. So how does it feel when all that hard work actually pays off?

Thank you. Yes, it really does feel good. A lot of hard work went into it for last 4 to 5 years, and yes so it really does feel good. I am thankful to the people who supported me through these years.

  1. For the first question… let me be very frank with it. Could u tell me how learning finance could be beneficial to the students of SCIT. Because we students might not directly deal with at all?

Finance is useful to everyone in every walk of life. IT helps you to keep a check on your daily transactions and spending pattern. If you planning start something on your own even then you need to keep a track of your revenue and expenses and predict as to when you could achieve a break even. Based on it you can decide whether to continue with your business or not. Finance is important to an organisation as the firm has to know how viable it is and balance profit with costs.

  1. What was it that drew your interest towards pursuing higher studies in finance?

My dad is an economics professor and so I have been in touch with things related to finance right from my childhood. May be that is something that grabbed my interest. And then who better than the lady of the house to manage the monthly expenses in the most efficient manner.

  1. I found that you have worked as Tax Consultant with H&R Block in California. So, what is the basic difference between tax structure of US & India?

Yes, definitely the tax structure of US and India are quite different.  I worked in California and Minnesota. US has a spending economy and perhaps that could a major reason for the difference. The tax implications in India depend on the residential status of the individual tax assessee. In USA, the basis of differentiation between taxpayer is marital status.In  US joint filing is allowed. E.g.:  A couple can do their filing jointly. There are lot of other benefits like dependent benefit which we cannot afford to implement in India. The citizens and resident of USA are taxed on their worldwide income: No matter which corner you go on earth, if you have earned a penny, you can’t avoid IRS from its share.

  1. Do u think the tax system plays a negative role in India’s development?

No. I don’t think so. Now with especially GST coming in we expect the tax system to be more transparent. So definitely tax system does not affect our growth in a negative way.

  1. Can theGST model that has been implemented help India grow economically/ financially?

Definitely Yes. Especially if the GST input tax credit system works out. I.e. one will only have to pay the tax for the margin charged by him. Also, the return filing pattern is expected to push the people to pay their taxes on time and bring transparency to the system.

  1. Another hype in the economy is the demonetization. Recently there are news that 99% of the demonetized currency has returned. So, does it show in some way that there were loop holes in the implementation & that they have been exploited?

Yes, there were loop holes that have been exploited. There were loop holes in land trading, investments made in NBFC’s etc which people have actually exploited to convert their black money into white.

  1. Now as the Railway budget & Union Budget have been merged is there a possibility that some key items may missed? If so which are they?

Yes. There is a high chance that Railway may miss out on many items. Earlier an entire day was spent for railway budget which would not be there now and that could be a concern. The concern will be more in decrease in transparency of railway budget and their performance. We would come to know it in more detail when the first merged budget is presented.  But there positive side is  this will also save the time of the parliamentarians by not having to approve and pass two separate Bills. The railways were paying a dividend to the government for getting gross budgetary support which will now be done away with, saving a huge amount of its financial resources.

  1. What would be some of the basicthings that we youngsters should keep in mind when we start earning & making investments?

Yes, investing can seem intimidating, While making investments we should be well aware of the terms and conditions  . Budgeting is the simple exercise of reconciling your income with your expenses, and should be your first step. Note down your monthly spending as per your ease of usage: Excel sheet, simple diary, mobile app, or desktop . Diversify investment in short term,medium term and long term. Invest in right and appropriate instrument.Can also invest in fixed deposits if you are skeptical about investing in the stock markets or mutual funds. There could be investments made in Public Provident Fund, Pension Schemes etc. Pension Schemes are a good option for people like you working in the IT Sector as it does not provide you with one. The thumb rule to be followed for investments should be “Make Equity Investments equal to 100 – Age”, and this is what most of you miss out on.  Don’t blindly take anybody’s advice for investment ,consider the goal tenure, returns, taxation and liquidity before investing your hard earned money. If you  are not confident meet Financial Health Doctor ( Investment Advisor)
Thank a lot mam for your valuable time and the invaluable information which you have shared. This will surely benefit the students and would help them develop a general awareness about the finance world around them.