Now, Bhutan open to ‘economic pilgrimage’

Fiscal deficit is more or less under control.

Written by Parimal A Dabhi | Gandhinagar | Published: January 12, 2015 2:49:13 am

Prime Minister of Bhutan Tshering Tobgay, on Sunday, stole the show at the inaugural ceremony of the 7th Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors’ Summit as he described his country as a small one ensconced in the Himalayas between two large countries — India and China.

Introducing his country as among the greenest, he said it gave more value to gross domestic happiness (GDH) than to gross domestic product (GDP) as he extended an invitation to those business houses who were interested in doing value-based business to invest in Bhutan.

He said that the GDP of Bhutan was just $1.72 billion, which would be lower than the income of some of those present in the Summit, but 95 per cent of its farming was organic.

Among the 19 speakers at the inaugural ceremony, Tobgay’s extempore speech with a smattering of Hindi, drew the maximum applause as he said how he had told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he would like to come on a religious pilgrimage to India. “Par dharmik yatra ke saath saath, aarthik yatra bhi bahut zaroori hai (But, for us along with religious pilgrimage, economic pilgrimage is also very important,)” said Tobgay. “So, I have come to Gujarat on an economic pilgrimage.”

Govt aiming 6.5% growth in 2015-16, says Jaitley

ENS Economic Bureau

GANDHINAGAR: Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday assured India Inc that the government is working to bring back the economy on track and is aiming at atleast a 6.5 per cent growth in 2015-16.

Fielding questions from industry captains from domestic and multi-national firms at the Global CEO Conclave that was held as part of the Seventh Vibrant Gujarat Summit, the finance minister stressed that the government would move ahead with reforms and will keep the fiscal deficit under control in 2014-15 to unveil more measures in the Union Budget 2015-16.

“The fiscal deficit is more or less under control,” Jaitley said in response to a query by Sunil Bharti Mittal, CEO Bharti Enterprises.

The exchequer will also earn revenue from sale of spectrum this fiscal, he said adding that the “fairly ambitious” programme would also yield revenues. The Centre has set itself a target of 4.1 per cent of the GDP for fiscal deficit in 2014-15 but its target has come under a cloud with the deficit touching 99 per cent of the full year target by November 2014.

Jaitley also stressed that the goods and services tax is on track and the government has a target of April 2016 for rolling out the indirect tax reform

The minister also assured the industry that the government would go ahead with reforms and even call a joint session if required to move ahead with the amendments. “There are no constraints within the government. There are not even hindering factors outside the government. The only hindering factor is how to clear the legislation from the Upper House,” he said. Pointing out that there is a Constitutional provision to call a joint session to pass bills in Lok Sabha, he said, “Hopefully, we won’t have to use it too often.”

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