Arun Jaitley warns Oppn against ‘politics of obstructionism’
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Estimating an over 8 per cent growth rate for the economy in the next fiscal, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday asked opposition parties to desist from playing an obstructionist role and cited a moderation in interest rates as a prerequisite to spur economic growth.
“According to the IMF, India’s growth rate will outpace that of China. That is a historic opportunity… I appeal with folded hands… let politics of obstructionism not go to next stage,” he said, replying to the general discussion on the Union Budget 2015-16 in the Lok Sabha. The minister’s comments come at a time when crucial reform measures to amend laws on land acquisition, coal and mines have been stalled in the Rajya Sabha.
Further underlining that the economy now takes centrestage, Jaitley took on opposition parties on their strategy of obstructionism and pointed out that it prevents economic decision-making, investment, revenue, jobs and infrastructure. “You want to perpetuate India as a poor country,” he said.
Significantly, Jaitley also defended the coal auction policy, referring to the court summons to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the coal block allocation case. “We must learn from this… so that the incident is not repeated where a former Prime Minister is summoned by a court,” he stressed.
Defending the Budget against criticism that it was pro-rich, he said the proposal to reduce corporate tax rate to 25 per cent from the current 30 per cent was borrowed from the Direct Taxes Code that was prepared under the previous UPA government. He also defended the government’s decision to not go ahead with the DTC, pointing out that most proposals have been included in the Budget.
Expressing hope that India would grow at 7.4 per cent this fiscal and over 8 per cent in 2015-16, Jaitley also called for moderation in interest rates as the economy would suffer otherwise. Most banks have not transmitted the 50 basis points cut in key rates by the Reserve Bank of India.
Meanwhile, pegging India’s current account deficit at less that 1 per cent in 2015-16, the minister underlined the need for domestic as well as international investments.
Jaitley also defended the Budget proposal to delay fiscal consolidation by a year, stressing that the additional funds would be used for investments in railways and highways. “We have increased the budgetary support to infrastructure. The benefit will go to railways and highways,” he stressed.
He said the government has taken all steps to enable low-cost manufacturing. “Every party must support this,” he said.
The demand for grants on account (general) 2015-16 was later cleared by a voice vote by the Lok Sabha.
Source:: Indian Express