Describing the pan-India Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill among the last major pieces of reform legislation that remain to be enacted, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday that Indian politics has undergone “significant change” in dealing with policy changes.
“There has been a significant change in approach towards policy as far as Indian politics is concerned,” Jaitley said in reply to questions at the annual India Today Conclave here, citing examples.
“The discussions on the Aadhaar Bill, which I mentioned in the 2016-17 budget, went on for seven-eight long years. But now, we’ve implemented it within two weeks,” he said.
The minister also mentioned the reforms in the petroleum sector approved by the union cabinet last week, which he proposed in the budget for the coming fiscal.
Last week, the government approved a new oil and gas exploration policy and defined the pricing norms for existing and new discoveries made in difficult areas.
The new exploration policy will now be based on a revenue-sharing model, as opposed to cost-and-output-based norms earlier. The new pricing policy for difficult to exploit deep-water and ultra deep-water gas discoveries allows free pricing, subject to a ceiling based on prices of alternate fuels.
“Regarding the policy reforms, it is the best India can do in the circumstances,” Jaitley said.
“In a complex democracy like India, you have to steer through politics, but the direction of reforms has to be maintained,” he added.
In this connection, the finance minister mentioned the moves to free road transport in the states from the permit system that had resulted in inadequate public transport services.