REFERRING TO the aspirational nature of Indians, Finance Minister Arun Jaitely said that in future, politics would be polarised between growth and obstructionism. Jaitley, who was speaking at a function organised by the city BJP unit in Pune on Saturday, said that those who stall growth will be viewed as villains.
“It’s not a bad polarisation in my view. The country would suffer a bit but those who try to obstruct growth would literally be the villains in the eye of people,” Jaitley said, speaking at length about various initiatives brought in by the present government. He had earlier criticised Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi without naming him.
The proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST), Jaitely said, is one important measure to boost GDP. Stating how GST will increase revenues for both the central and state governments, Jaitely blamed “a certain opposition leader for stalling it without understanding the importance of it”.
The proposed GST would bring in a uniform tax regime in the country which at present has a complex taxing environment due to states having their own tax structures. The Congress has stopped the passage of GST in Parliament.
Meanwhile, speaking about the various reforms the government would be rolling out, the finance minister said that over four years, corporate tax would be reduced to 25 per cent.
Jaitley said that the power sector is witnessing excess power production for the first time. But the problem is that some state distribution companies are financially unsound, he added.
Citing the example of Rajasthan, the Union minister said that the state discom owes banks loans worth Rs 70,000 crores. “My colleague Piyush Goel would soon announce a special scheme for four states who are in dire trouble and four other states which are in some trouble to wade them out of their power woes,” he said.
Following the Supreme Court altering the Aadhar judgment, Jaitley said that the government will roll out more subsidies through the direct benefit transfer for more schemes. “Subsidies for oil, widow pensions, scholarships, MGNREGA, etc will be rolled out,” he said, adding that 40-45 per cent of the 18 crore bank accounts opened under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yogna are now functional.
Stressing the need on investment in agriculture, Jaitley said that the central government has plans to invest Rs 50,0000 crore for irrigation. This, he said, will help in bringing in more areas under irrigation.