Government to go ahead with reforms to achieve 8% growth: Arun Jaitley

Accusing Congress of following an obstructionist approach, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the government was committed…

Accusing Congress of following an obstructionist approach, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the government was committed to going ahead with reforms measures to take India back to original potential of 8 per cent economic growth.

Outlining the government’s priorities like introduction of GST (Goods and Services Tax) in the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament, changes in the land acquisition law, auction of non-coal minerals and elimination of non-deserving sections from subsidy net, he said the key economic portfolios were being handled by people who have no baggage of the past.

“Now all these changes have certainly changed the environment, changed the mood. India is back on the radar. I am quite conscious of the fact some people will try and obstruct though the national mood is to the contrary. The obstructions won’t be able to sustain for too long”, he said addressing the ET Awards function here.

“And once we are able to pursue that agenda, and I think with changing systems and all other institutions also realising that the sectors in which India needs to be helped can be helped by these measures. I am sure the effect on the ground and the change in figures will also be evident”, he said.

Seeking a shared vision among all stake holders like government, opposition, judiciary and legislature, Jaitley criticised the Congress approach saying “it seems to be that the party is saying now that I am out, let me obstruct. Since I am not in government, it is not my responsibility. So I will obstruct.”

He also charged the Congress party with having an obsolete mindset that led to enactment of a measure like the ‘draconian’ land acquisition law under which it was not possible to build a private school, hospital or hotel.

The Finance Minister said Modi has put young people in charge of key economic ministries because they do not carry the baggage of the past and will have a fresh thinking and the ability to learn fast.

He said the government is working on the e-auction route for allocation of non-coal minerals like iron ore to remove discretionary allotments.

“Nobody today claims that I went to a minister and had to make non-commercial commitments for approvals. Gone are the days of a person being sent to party office with a slip,” he said apparently referring to approvals being given after donations to parties.

Reiterating his opposition to subsidising affluent classes, he said people pay taxes not for subsidising the rich. “We have to look at how to eliminate (undeserving) people from the subsidy net. An unquantified amount cannot be given to a unquantifiable sections.”

Referring to the government’s decision not to levy taxes retrospectively, Jaitley said, taxes which must be paid must be realised but what cannot be realised cannot be taken forcefully.

Such an approach, he said, did not bring even one rupee more to the kitty but got a bad name for the country.

Govt to soon implement many FSLRC recommendations: Arun Jaitley

The government will soon implement a large number of legislative and administrative recommendations of the Financial Sector Reforms Commission (FSLRC), which had suggested a major overhauling of financial sector regulations.

“As the change in process of reform continues … I have not the least doubt that a large number of these (FSLRC) recommendations will actually see implementation in the days to come,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitely said at a seminar organised by the ICSI.

The Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC), chaired by Justice B N Srikrishna, has suggested a non-sectoral, principle-based approach to revamp the existing framework. Among various suggestions, the FSLRC has suggested creation of a unified financial sector regulator comprising SEBI, IRDA, FMC and part of RBI.

Jaitely said four different groups are studying the report and the implementation of the suggestions would require legislative as well as administrative changes.

FSLRC, which submitted its report to the government in March last year, has also given a draft legislation for putting in place an Indian Financial Code (IFC).

Various stakeholders, including RBI, are opposed to certain proposals under the IFC.

Jaitley said, “Some legislative changes will also be required. I think with a combination of these administrative and legislative changes, the professional regulatory mechanism will come to stay.”

The country, Jaitley said, has moved away from state- regulated mechanism to a mechanism where the market is trusted and there are professional regulators to deal with issues in sectors concerned .

“We need to learn, not only from the best practices in India, but from the best global practices. And the Commission’s report is an extremely important step in that direction. Under the present circumstances, there are lots of changes which are required,” he said.

The recommendations of the FSLRC are divided into legislative and non-legislative aspects.

It has recommended a seven-agency structure for the financial sector — the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Unified Financial Agency (UFA),

Financial Sector Appellate Tribunal (FSAT), Resolution Corporation (RC), Financial Redressal Agency (FRA), Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) and Public Debt Management Agency (PDMA).

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