Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley held the first press conference highlighting the “achievements” of one-year old Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the centre. Claiming “one year of decisive and corruption-free governance”, Jaitley said the stage is set for robust economic growth and reforms.
“A very important highlight of the government has been to give a corruption-free administration to the country. The common man has been freed from political corruption. We have done it in one year,” he told the reporters in New Delhi.
Claiming that the incumbent government have a target set for achieving growth rate in the double-digit, the union minister and senior BJP leader attacked the Congress party for its opposition to GST and the amendments to the land acquisition law.
Notably, Modi government is facing stiff opposition inside and outside the Parliament from resurgent Congress party on the Ordinance over the land acquisition bill. In fact, the principal opposition party has been able to rally around several other opposition parties to oppose the land ordinance.
Arun Jaitley also expressed the government’s commitment to GST and the land acquisition bill, besides promising more funds for rural development and infrastructure. He also told the press contingent that the economy is growing at 7.5-8 per cent and there is a restlessness to grow even faster which is the real potential of the country. Adding that decisiveness even in the face of obstructions has been the hallmark of Modi government, he said, “One year back, there was an environment of pessimism… there was general environment of gloom. In its place, an environment of enthusiasm has been created”.
Stressing that there is no place for crony capitalism in the current government, he said the regime is both pro-growth and pro-development.
“Our social security programmes are going to be one of the strongest ever in this country, but certainly the policy will be one of arms-length distance in terms of decision-making from individual business houses,” he asserted.
Lauding the government for providing a transparent system of governance in the auction of natural resources like coal and spectrum, the Finance minister also stressed that the government is in favour of keeping its taxation policy simple and intends to use it “as an instrument for promoting growth.”
Calling the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) a “historic” reform, Jaitley said most of the states are on board and the Centre would make every effort to roll out the new tax regime from April 1, 2016.
The Bill has already been passed by Lok Sabha but is yet to clear Rajya Sabha, where the BJP and its allies are in a minority. The bill has been referred to the Select Committee for the government had brought in amendments in the act. The committee will submit its report before the upper house on the first day of the next session of Parliament.
However, there were some testing moments in the presser when the government was asked about the opposition Congress party’s campaign of labelling the government as ‘suit-boot ki sarkaar’.
Later in the day, Congress party once again flayed the government as the one of corporates.
“Narendra Modi’s government has become ‘suit, boot, loot ki sarkar’…every section of the society -youth, unemployed, farmers or small businessmen – are feeling cheated by its words and actions,” Congress leader Raj Babbar told the press.
“He is giving Rs 5,000 crore loan to Adani and one billion dollar aid to Mongolia. They are squandering and looting the nation’s money,” he added.