Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said she was open to the idea of setting up a Board of Trade to focus on issues of domestic trade.
“So many ministries are involved in anything to do with domestic trade and that requires a bit of a focus. That is why the idea of setting up a Board of Trade with traders giving inputs helping the government anticipate and identify potential problem areas, I will definitely have the ministry look into it,” Sitharaman said.
She further observed that internal dimension of trade has a lot of strands which need special attention.
Highlighting the significance of the domestic market, the minister said: “Exports have now stopped dropping further. It is slowly rising. But even when our export situation can become worrisome, it is our domestic market which is keeping it up”.
Talking about the Goods and Services Tax (GST), she said the simplification in taxation regime after introduction of GST will result in greater compliance, help contain blackmoney and check harassment of businessmen.
The minister pointed out that India was a “shining star” among economies globally at a time when the demand situation worldwide is discouraging.
The minister said the present government had to “make enormous efforts” to improve upon the GST and get the state governments on board.
“State government’s confidence on the Centre had evaporated … Even after promising (the GST roll out from 2010) states were not given compensation. So states did not have the confidence that the Centre will honour its commitment,” she said.
Questioning why the country was unable to move forward in the last 10-15 years, Sitharaman held corruption and lack of decision making responsible.
She described the present government as responsive towards the needs of the people, capable of taking “tough decisions” and one which takes decisions not by brute force but through consultation.
The minister launched ‘Alliance for Digital Bharat’ website, an initiative of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) here.
The Alliance for Digital Bharat is a forum consisting of national organisations of traders, transporters, farmers, truck operators, SMEs, consumers, self employed groups, women entrepreneurs & other verticals of non corporate sector.
The mandate of the Alliance has been set for development of a conducive atmosphere for digitalisation in non-corporate sector including trading community and launch a nationwide campaign to motivate & encourage the people to adopt technology in their existing business format.