Ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament that starts later this month, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday made a case for the passage of the pending bills on land acquisition and goods and services tax, stressing that these along with other policy reforms would help enhance economic growth and eradicate poverty.
“The way to eliminate deprivation is to achieve rapid economic growth of 8-10 percent so that good jobs are created for all Indians quickly. That is why the government is promoting investment,” he said in a Facebook post, adding that, “The latest data suggest that the investment cycle is slowly turning around and stalled projects are being unblocked at a faster pace. Passing the GST and reforming the land law will accelerate this investment turnaround.”
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The two Bills are at present with pending with Parliamentary committees and could face further delay with Congress and other opposition parties threatening to disrupt the Monsoon session that starts on July 21.
However, the finance minister stressed that the message from the socio-economic and caste census (SECC) is clear that “growth and economic reforms help the poor as do targeted schemes”.
Jaitley is leaving for a four day official visit to Russia on Monday evening to participate in the meeting of Brics finance ministers and Central bank governors. On July 7, he will attend the inaugural meeting of the Board of Governors of the Brics New Development Bank in Moscow and then leave for Ufa to participate in the meeting of BRICS finance ministers and central bank governors. He will return on July 11.
The Census results, which were released on July 3 revealed that about 30 per cent of households encountered at least two out of the SECC’s seven measures of deprivation and 49 per cent of households at least one.
“Improving this situation is the number one priority of this government,” Jaitley stressed, adding that growth and economic reforms as well as targeted schemes help the poor.
He said for the government to eradicate deprivation most effectively and quickly, “a permanent, formal sector, well-paid job is the best anti-poverty measure”.
Additionally, the government also aims to increase public investment in roads, railways, rural infrastructure and connectivity, besides creating conditions for greater private investment.
“The government has been helping the poor by giving them subsidies. But these are poorly targeted and leaky,” he said, adding that the government’s JAM (JanDhan, Aadhaar, Mobile) trinity would ensure that money reaches the hands of beneficiaries.
He said the direct benefit transfer of cooking gas subsidies would help government save Rs 12,700 crore this year.
“If we can be careful in our design and implementation, we can extend DBT to other commodities, so that the poor get more money to spend for their upliftment,” he stressed.