No 'poverty alleviation', PM Manmohan Singh left country with 'elevated poverty', says Arun Jaitley

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 11 2014, 00:01am hrs
Arun JaitleyUnion Finance Minister Arun Jaitley with MoS for Finance, Nirmala Sitharaman and Finance Secretary Arvind Mayaram during a pre-Budget meeting with Banking and Financial Institutions in New Delhi. PTI
Government today slammed the previous UPA regime saying it has left the country in a shambles with low growth and "elevated" poverty and vowed to resurrect the economy with a strong Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the helm.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also sought to allay apprehensions on account of treatment to minorities saying his government will have a "compassionate" and non-discriminatory" approach and will take "strongest" steps to ensure social harmony and national security.

Intervening during debate on Motion of Thanks on the President's address, he said NDA has come to power riding on "high expectations" of people which has put greater "burden" on the government to perform.

Quoting Narendra Modi's oft-repeated statement that participation of states was important for country's growth, he said the government will take states along and address their issues.

The government will work for pushing the country's growth which has been stuck at the "disappointing" level of less than five per cent for the last two years.

"Election results itself have become an important political statement. Once again domestic and foreign investors have started looking at India. Therefore, for us, who are the repository of public confidence, the onus is on us whether we can convert this into opportunity or not," he said.

Targeting the former UPA government, Jaitley said it had passed on to the new dispensation an economy of low growth, high inflation, high fiscal deficit and low tax collection.

He suggested that the current situation of the country was mostly because the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was not "tough" when situation so warranted including 2G and coal block allocation issues.

"The enthusiasm in Indian economy was shattered. Domestic investors were moving out. If there is no investment, there is no job. You have left the country, in your own words, not at poverty alleviation, but at elevated poverty," Jaitley said.

Need to reduce cost of doing business in India: Jaitley

(PTI) There is a need to reduce the cost of doing business in the country to revive the investment cycle, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said.

"The Finance Minister stressed upon the need to improve the business climate and reducing the cost of doing business as important means for revival of the investment cycle," an official statement said today.

He also emphasised on the need for coordinated approach by all sector regulators to achieve financial stability.

"He referred to the high political expectations from the new government and the opportunity now available for resolving long-pending problems facing the economy," the statement said.

Jaitley was speaking at the meeting of the Financial Sector Development Council (FSDC) on Saturday. It was attended by financial sector regulators including the Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan and Sebi Chief U K Sinha.

The minister also cautioned against slackening the vigil in the area of fiscal consolidation.

Finance Secretary Arvind Mayaram briefed the council on the macro-economic situation and improvement in twin deficits.

"However, there is a long way to go in terms of reviving economic growth, controlling inflation especially food inflation, keeping deficit under control, addressing infrastructure bottlenecks," Mayaram said.

He added that there is a need to continue to be in a state of preparedness for managing external sector vulnerabilities.

Economic growth slowed to 4.7 per cent in 2013-14 and retail inflation stood at a 3-year high of 8.59 per cent in April.

Besides, fiscal deficit narrowed to 4.5 per cent of GDP in 2013-14 from 4.9 per cent in previous year. The current account deficit (CAD), which is the difference between inflow and outflow of foreign funds, dropped to 1.7 per cent of GDP in 2013-14 from 4.7 per cent in 2012-13.

The financial sector regulators at the meeting presented their suggestions on the forthcoming Budget 2014-15, as also their ideas on next generation financial reforms.

Among others who attended the meeting were IRDA Chairman T S Vijayan, FMC Chairman Ramesh Abhishek, PFRDA Officiating Chairman R V Verma and other government officials.