Replying to the discussion on General Budget in Lok Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that in coming two years, India will become fastest growing major economy in the world. The discussion in Lok Sabha began on Wednesday, while in Rajya Sabha it was initiated on Thursday.
Structural reforms taken by us have never been taken by any government. They may pose momentary difficulties but will pay dividends in the long run, the Finance Minister said defending his government policies.
On the question of fiscal deficit, he said when the BJP government came to power the fiscal deficit was at 4.5% and their effort has been to bring it down to 3-3.2 per cent. “we have followed the fiscal prudence in last four years and will keep on following it,” Jaitley said.
On the issue of relief to Andhra Pradesh, the finance minister assured that government will soon work out a solution. The members of TDP, BJP’s ally, have been protesting in the Parliament demanding immediate implementation of Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act.
“The government is extremely sympathetic to issues of the people of Andhra Pradesh… We will work out a solution to problem of Andhra Pradesh in next couple of days,” he said.
Countering the opposition criticism on the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the finance defended the slabs on different categories of goods. “Within a matter of months, we have been able to stabilise the Goods and Service Tax. We reduced the rate with increase in revenue,” he said.
“I went to Singapore. There they levy 7% GST on both Mercedes and food. Can this be done in India, a country where a large population lives below the poverty line? How can same tax slab be implemented on a luxurious item & a necessity?,” Arun Jaitley.
He also strongly defended the Rafale deal accusing Congress party of making false allegations, which in turn may compromise national security. “Disclosing the costing of a defence deal will let our enemies know the capacity of weapons,” he said.
“It is in large interest of India’s security that details are not disclosed. Security pacts are an inherent part of defence transactions. When you are giving out the details, you are giving out the details of the weapon system that you possess and capacity of weapon system,” he said on Congress’ allegation over Rafale deal.
On the issue of Aadhaar, he criticised the principal opposition party saying, “You have been talking about Aadhaar but all you could achieve was formulate how such an ID would be created”.
“You were not able to pass a law, you had no vision whatsoever to use it in the way we have, Your draft law was silent on privacy, whereas we have a full chapter on citizens’ privacy and the iron balls around Aadhaar,” he argued while replying to the debate in Lok Sabha.