New Delhi, Feb. 9: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said that overall economic situation in the country is looking better and basic parameters of Indian economy are moving in the right direction.
The Finance Minster was making the Opening Remarks at the first meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to his Ministry here today. The meeting as called to discuss ‘Suggestions for the Budget’.
Jaitley said that current account deficit will be under control and steps will be taken to keep the fiscal deficit also within the prescribed limit. The Finance Minister said that the growth rate would be better than the last year. He further said that the global situation is favourable to the country as more and more investors are showing curiosity and interest in India. The Finance Minister said that our major challenges will be to boost investment especially in infrastructure sector and give further boost to both manufacturing and agriculture sector among others. Regarding bringing back the black money stashed abroad, the Finance Minister said that India will soon become part of international consortium where the focus would be on automatic transfer of information which would in turn help the Government in getting easy access to such foreign accounts of Indian residents.
Global situation is favourable to the country as more and more inverstors are showing curiosity and interest in India; our major challenges will ne to boost investment especially in infrastructure sector and give further boost to both manufacturing and agriculture sector among other things.
Most members present congratulated the Government for the gradual turn-around of the Indian Economy. they also welcomed the increased inflows of FDIs and FIIs during the current year. Various suggestions were given with regard to the forthcoming Union Budget by the participating members which include significant increase in allocation for judicial sector for setting- up fast track courts in order to clear the heavy back log of pending court cases in various courts; abolition of differential import tax levied on end use basis as this leads to misuse and corruption, steps be taken to broaden the tax base and impose small tax at flat rate on everyone including small businessmen so that everyone is a stakeholder in the country’s development. It was also suggested to make big ticket announcements by the Finance Minister in his Budget Speech including policy reforms to keep the optimism going on.
There were suggestions focussing attention on inland waterways, rationalization of subsidies especially in case of urea as it excessive use was having an adverse impact on the quality of land and productivity, more concession for migrant workers and agricultural labourers, incentives for modernization of agriculture to make it viable, focus on creating strong rural infrastructure, incentives for agri-exports, moré tax benefits to cooperative sector, incentivize use of ethanol in petrol, more allocation for animal husbandry and veterinary research, boost to micro-irrigation, 50% subsidy by the Central Government for drip irrigation and financing of remaining 50% by banks through soft loans to farmers. Labour reforms, settlement of wages of staff of public sector banks and insurance companies and skill development were other issues discussed on priority
suggestions were also made regarding structural reforms in manufacturing sector, incentives in income tax for exporters, incentives for import of cutting edge technology rather than finished products, and online scrutiny of tax returns to bring high level of transparency and probity. Other suggestions included incentivizing tourism by creating tourism infrastructure as tourism has a great potential both for generating revenue as well as creating employment opportunities. More allocation to Archaeological Survey of India for preserving cultural heritage, incentives to local bodies and private sector for solid waste management, tax relief to women especially those working in informal sector and more allocation for education and health sectors among others.
At the meeting emphasis was also laid on the need to fill-up the vacant posts in CBDT and CBEC for better revenue collection and amend the law to ensure the registered offices of the companies andcorporate houses are located where substantial part of their business takes place to avoid tax evasion.
Members of Parliament who attended the meeting included Anirudhan Sampath, Baijayanta Jai Panda, Kailkesh Narayan Singh Deo, P.P. Chaudhary, Prabhatsinh Pratapsinh Chauhan, Ram Charitra Nishad, S.P.Y. Reddy, Sharadkumar Maruti Bansode, Subhash Chandra Baheria, Suresh Chanabassappa Angadi and Dr. Udit Raj ( all Members of Lok Sabha); Anil Desai, Dr. K.P. Ramalingam, Ranvijay Singh Judev and Kumari Salja (all Members of Rajya Sabha). Among the officers, present were Rajiv Mehrishi, Finance Secretary, Shaktikanta Dass, Revenue Secretary, Ratan P. Watal, Secretary (Expenditure), Dr. Hasmukh Adhia, Secretary (DFS), Aradhna Johri, Secretary (Disinvestment), Dr Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser, Kaushal Srivastava, Chairman, CBEC, and Anita Kapur, Chairperson, CBDT.