Amid uproar in the Lok Sabha during the reply on general discussion on the Budget 2018-19, Finance Minister criticised the opposition for painting gloomy picture of the economy and said the NDA government has done everything for improving the economy and making doing business easy in India.
Finance Minister said when the world was facing economic slowdown, India was among bright spots as it remained one of the fastest growing economies in the world. He assured that trend will continue for the next 2 years too.
Mr Jaitley said that in spite of difficult decisions of demonetization and GST, the GDP fell only by 0.4 per cent, not by 2 per cent as was feared by some people. In 2016-17, the GDP growth was 7.1 per cent whereas we are expecting 6.7 per cent GDP growth in the year 2017-18 which faced the demonetization and GST impact.
Replying the discussion, he said that Congress is painting gloomy picture of the economy which is not the case. During UPA regime the inflation was 11 per cent which has come under the described limit of 4 plus 2 per cent and it is around 5 per cent as on date. So it is not true that the inflation has gone up. In fact limited inflation is required, otherwise economy will become sluggish.
On fiscal deficit, he replied that in UPA regime it was over 6 per cent. When Modi government took over it was 4.5 which has been brought down to 3.5 this fiscal.
He accepted that there are areas where there are needs of improvement, which will bring further improvement in the various ranking. By emphasizing on Agriculture and Customs, we may get ranking among top 50 in case of ease of doing business.
Hr said that there was policy paralysis in UPA government, but this government knows when to decide.
On the issue of GST, he said that countries implemented GST took years to get is stabilised, but we took few months. As it is moving ahead and revenue is growing, we are bringing down the rates for the items.
He said that opposition is asking for one rate under GST for all the products as it the case in many countries. But those countries have almost nil population under poverty line. So, one must not compare our GST rates with those countries.
What was the hurry to implement GST and why it was not postponed for latter dates, Mr Jaitley said that due to constitutional deadline, we had to implement it before September 2017.
On the criticism of Aadhar, he said that it was brought in by the Congress and now is being disowned by that party itself. In fact Congress brought in Aadhar without supporting laws. UPA government’s Aadhar was silent on privacy laws and was not sure of use of it whereas our government brought supporting laws and privacy clauses with described use so that the subsidy go to poor and needy, not to rich people.
On Long Term Capital Gain Tax of 10 per cent, proposed in the budget, Finance Minister Jaitley said that it will have effect on only few high net worth corporate and rich people. It has nothing to do with poor people. So, the criticism to it is beyond understanding, said Mr Jaitley.
On major fall in the stock market, he said that it was not due to tax proposal, it was due to global economic reason which had forced the worldwide fall in the stock markets.
He claimed that in the budget proposals, he has taken care of middle class, and senior citizen apart from giving reliefs to Small Enterprises.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley assured the Andhra Pradesh people that the Central Government will provide every assistance to the state and will work out the modalities in a couple of days in consultation with the state government officials.
Replying to general discussion on the Budget 2018-19 in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, Finance Minister said that he has all the sympathies with the Andhra Pradesh people as it was at disadvantage when the bifurcation took place through reorganisation of state act.
On Rafale deal he denied to divulged the details and said that it will not be in the interest of the national security.