Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has again expressed his confidence in rolling out the controversial Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime next year in 2016. He also said that India’s growth rate will outperform last year’s 7.3 per cent.
Jaitley was speaking at a press conference in Hong Kong on Monday morning, the final day of his visit to Singapore and Hong Kong.
Jaitley again blamed the Opposition, primarily the Congress party for derailing the simple and globally competitive tax regime.
“The Congress party is trying to delay the new tax, but you must remember, it is a transactional tax and not an income tax…So, it can come up on the first of any month. Delay from April 1 does not mean that it will go to April 1 of the next year. That only happens in income tax,” Jaitley told the press.
But he also promised that the GST would be passed in the Rajya Sabha, where it was stuck, in the next session. He again reassured the press that the new GST regime will roll out from the next fiscal. On the pending disputes on direct taxes, he expressed confidence about an early resolution.
“I can’t tell you the exact process that we will follow, but my objective is to have a resolution,” said Jaitley while talking about pending disputes regarding foreign companies, including Vodafone.
“There are many areas where some changes are taking place on their own because of technology, such as in banking. As and when it is necessary, we consult the unions, we consult the states and then the changes are made. It is not the case that nothing has been done,” explained Jaitley while talking about investor-friendly reforms.
“Certainly, I think international investment is going to be a great source of resource for us and with all these economic activities (ongoing and fresh reforms) planned, even in the midst of somewhat gloomier global situation, I think India has the potential to stand out as a relative brighter spot…We grew by 7.3 per cent last year and I hope that we are able to outperform our last year’s growth numbers,” said Jaitley at the inaugural APIC-India Capital Markets and Institutional Investors Summit in Hong Kong.
Jaitley also played down the impact of the Chinese slowdown on the Indian economy.
“There are some good reasons why India does not get impacted adversely. China’s entire production or supply chain… we are not any significant partner there. Second, the impact of oil and commodities goes to our advantage. Third, investors would have to look elsewhere also and there we have the best opportunity,” said Jaitley in Hong Kong.
On the controversial land law, Jaitley said, “Land is a concurrent subject and therefore, states have now said they want to bring changes after getting them approved by the Centre. We have agreed to that. This is an easier course.”
(With inputs from PTI)