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Interview with: Dev B Kalra

This time we have a non-fiction author Dev B Kalra who has written a book on GST. So let’s know how it all happens from a non-fiction author’s perspective. So Mr. Kalra

“Tell us something about yourself and when did you first realize you want to be a writer?”

I am a traveler who loves to experience the nuances of the world.

On a more professional side, I’m a practicing Chartered Accountant and we have a CA firm with over 30 years of experience.

The first piece I ever wrote was way back when I was in school, it was a short fiction. I did not think I wanted to become a writer back then but my first serious piece was a series of blogs that I wrote while studying for my masters in Australia. They were based on my experiences and adventures in the new world and they got me hooked to writing.

“Tell us about your book.”
The book is called ‘Just Definitions’ and it’s the first in a series of books titled ‘Not Everything on GST’.

I strongly believe that definitions are the premise on which laws operate but these are mostly over-looked and that is exactly what I have tried to simplify. The definitions have been broken down and explained with the help of illustrations so as to make a law book which is less boring. It’s loosely comic-based law book where the central characters are defined who give it a real world feel.

“What made you write on this topic?”
GST is the biggest tax reform in India since independence and it is affecting each and every one of us. Now the problem is that most of the knowledge about GST will be stored in law books that will only be opened by professionals who have the insight to go about understanding something like this. What I want to do is equip the common man with the basic working of a tax that he will have to live and breathe every single business day. As I said, definitions are a very important part of law, think of the book like a dictionary where you at least get to understand what all is encompassed if not what all it entails.

“Where do you get the information and material for the book”
The book is entirely based on the bare acts. The Central Goods and Services Tax Act,2017 ; The Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Act,2017; The Integrated Goods and Services Tax Act,2017 and The Compensation to States Act,2017 constitute the first part of the book. The second part or the Appendix, is based on other acts that have defining roles in the conceptualization of GST like the Transfer of Property Act,1882; The Information Technology Act,2000 ; The Customs Act,1962 to name a few. The idea behind the book is to have one book which offers you cross-referenced information from various acts existing in India so that the premise of GST can be easily comprehended. The third part of the book is relevant FAQs from CBEC NACEN publication.

I made the illustrations myself for explanatory purposes and then hired an agency to digitize the same.

“Name one thing you learned while creating your book.”
I really enjoyed the whole process of getting a book published where the exhilaration at crossing small milestones gives you a heady feeling. Though the one thing that I learnt was that it will always take more time and effort than you plan, but in the end holding the first copy, you feel it was worth-it. It’s a process and I have learnt to appreciate each step along the way.

“Do you have any suggestions for me to become a better writer?”
Absolutely not. I believe that it’s a very organic process and I have just started on the journey, so I think to become a better writer all you really have to do is not give up. I have two unpublished versions of the book that remained so because of constant changes in the act even before it became a law. I now think of them as stepping stones to the final product.

“After this, are there any plans for your next book. If yes, then on what topic will it be?”
Definitely. I’m currently researching on the GST law from the perspective of creating flow charts that I plan to publish as the book-2 of the series. The law has been applied in India and is undergoing tremendous change day in and day out. Waiting for it to settle down so I can get the next one out.

Till then I’m happy reading, working and travelling.

Thank you so much Mr. Kalra for your time, and we wish you great success ahead in your writing career.

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