Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US visit later this month, finance minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday promised further reforms and said the government is working to “put to sleep” pending taxation issues to attract more investments and also make the fundamentals of the economy strong.
“Now, a number of them have been put to rest and we are trying over the next few days itself so that many others can be put to sleep either by a judicial resolution or an executive resolution,” he said at the India Economic Convention, adding that the government is making the fundamentals of the economy strong so that it can resist global turmoils.
While regretting that the goods and services tax has got stuck due to political reasons, the finance minister however assured the gathering of industry leaders that many reforms are in the pipeline.
In order to promote ease of doing business, he said the government is working on areas like bankruptcy code, disputes resolution in major contracts, expeditious arbitration proceedings and a public procurement law. “These are (reforms)… which we are trying to put on track,” Jaitley added.
To attract more foreign capital, the minister is a four day tour of Singapore and Hong Kong where he will meet investors.
Meanwhile, underlining the need for improvement in the regulatory environment, he also said that the regulatory system has to be prepared for a much faster change.
He further said that the government has rationalised the system of allocation of natural resources: “We have done away with the controversies.”
Jaitley also underlined the need for kick-starting the manufacturing sector and giving a boost to small and medium enterprises with a view to generating more jobs.
However, Jaitley blamed the previous UPA government and said that the last decade under former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was “wasted” like that of 1970s and 80s because decision making had shifted out of the PMO unlike now. He said that decision making powers had got skewed during the UPA regime due to emergence of power centre outside the government.
“The Prime Minister unquestionably has the last word. No government, no finance minister or any other ministers can ever implement series of changes and reforms without full backing of the Prime Minister,” he stressed. He further said that it was after 30 years that the electorate has given a clear mandate to a political party.