On being questioned about the delay happening in bringing petroleum products under the goods and services tax (GST), Finance Minister Arun Jaitley answered in Parliament on Tuesday the government is ready but the onus is on the states to reach a consensus. Arun Jaitley also added, “UPA States refused to bring state levies down to reduce prices of petrol and diesel.” The finance minister apprised the Parliament that he has written to the states to bring down duty on petroleum.
Yesterday, Arun Jaitley had said the BJP’s victory in Gujarat was an endorsement of the GST while the results in a handful of districts highlighted farmers’ issues that the government will analyse and address, pledging further reforms. The GST rollout, along with improvement in World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking and sovereign rating upgrade by Moody’s marked 2017, the finance ministry had ranked as major accomplishments during the year. “Enhancing the quality of life remained the primary goal for the government when it put into implementing the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission to benefit more than 48 lakh central government employees,” the ministry, headed by Arun Jaitley, said in a statement. Observing that it was a historic year for the finance ministry, it said that Moody’s Investors Service upgraded India’s local and foreign currency issuer ratings after a gap of 13 years and India moved higher by 30 notches in the World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking report. Also, there were “visible signs of financial system cleansing by the demonetisation exercise”, the ministry said. It also termed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rollout from July 1 as a “transformational” reform which overhauled the indirect tax system by replacing multiple central and state levies. A new direct tax code has also been initiated to re-write the Income Tax Act.
Arun Jaitley had recently said the government will exceed disinvestment target of Rs 72,500 crore for the current financial year. The government raised Rs 52,389.56 crore through disinvestment till December 15. On the economic growth front, the ministry said the second quarter GDP numbers show a “reversal of the deceleration trend”. The GDP growth for July-September of 2017-18 was recorded at 6.3 percent, a substantial increase from 5.7 percent in the first quarter.