We gave one year of corruption-free governance: Jaitley

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The economy is growing at 7.5-8 per cent, he said, adding that there is a restlessness to grow even faster which is the real potential .

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said one year of decisive and corruption-free governance at the Centre has set the stage for a double-digit growth rate and promised to continue economic reforms with a view to make it easier to do business in India.He also attacked the Congress for positioning itself as anti-growth and anti-development by obstructing reforms measures like GST and amendments to the land acquisition law.

Speaking to reporters on completion of one year of the Narendra Modi-led government, the Minister said: “A very important highlight of the government has been to give a corruption-free administration to the country. The common man has been freed from political corruption. We have done it in one year.”

Mr. Jaitley also expressed the government’s commitment to GST and the land acquisition bill, besides promising more funds for rural development and infrastructure.The economy is growing at 7.5-8 per cent, he said, adding that there is a restlessness to grow even faster which is the real potential of the country.

“One year back, there was an environment of pessimism…there was general environment of gloom. In its place, an environment of enthusiasm has been created,” he said, adding that decisiveness even in the face of obstructions has been the hallmark of the Modi government.India, he said, “has potential to touch double-digit growth rate” provided decision-making is quick.

“We are reforming and liberalising, but there is no place for crony capitalism,” he said, observing that it was the unclear economic policies that led to the fall of the UPA government.

The current government, Mr. Jaitley said, is both pro-growth and pro-development.

“Our social security programmes are going to be one of the strongest ever in this country, but certainly the policy will be one of arms-length distance in terms of decision—making from individual business houses,” he asserted.

Mr. Jaitley said the government has been able to provide a transparent system of governance through a host of initiatives such as auction of natural resources like coal and spectrum.

The government has acted decisively and with speed on all fronts, he said, adding “those who are used to slow decision-making are criticising it (government) for making fast decisions… the country is not willing to accept slow decision-making.”

Also, “there is absolute clarity of direction in which the government wants to go… that is to promote growth and development and bring in more transparency in governance.”

As regards taxation, Mr. Jaitley said the government is in favour of keeping it simple and intends to use “taxation as an instrument for promoting growth.”Describing the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) as a “historic” reform, the Minister said most of the states are on board and the Centre would make every effort to roll out the new tax regime from April 1, 2016.

The Constitutional Amendment Bill to roll out the GST was referred to the Select Committee which is scheduled to submit its report to Rajya Sabha on the first day of the next session of Parliament.The Bill has already been approved by Lok Sabha.

The GST, which will subsume various indirect taxes like excise, service tax and local levies, will result in a uniform tax regime throughout the country.

As far as direct taxes are concerned, Jaitley said the government proposes to bring down the rate of corporate tax at par with global levels and reduce discretionary exemptions.The government plans to bring down the rate of corporate tax from 30 per cent to 25 per cent over a period of four years.“Higher tax rates are never investor friendly…never economy friendly,” Mr. Jaitley asserted.

cerdit : thehindu 

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