The GST rollout, improvement in World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking and sovereign rating upgrade by Moody’s marked 2017, the finance ministry today said highlighting major accomplishments during the year. “Enhancing the quality of life remained primary goal for government when it put into implementation 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.
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 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 per cent, a substantial increase from 5.7 percent in the first quarter.
Other significant initiatives listed out by the ministry, include institutionalisation of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the RBI, approval for the phasing out of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) and the country’s first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) becoming operational at the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT), Gandhi Nagar in April 2017. The ministry also highlighted various steps taken to promote digital transactions in the country post demonetisation.