New Delhi: Union Minster of Finance, Defence and Corporate Affairs Arun Jaitley today said that after the present NDA Government came to power at the Centre in May, 2014, it has been able to restore the credibility of the Indian Economy and also the image of the Government, which was at its rock-bottom due to serious charges of corruption, indecisiveness and policy paralysis during the earlier UPA regime.
The Finance Minster said that the three major achievements of the present NDA Government in the last three years include the ability to take decisions -even difficult decisions, drastic changes in the earlier system of governance which led to corruption, and making market mechanism as the basis of the Government decision making and eliminating the Government discretions in the process of decision making and overall governance.
Jaitley was making his Opening Remarks at a Press Conference in the national capital today. The meeting with the press was organized to highlight the key initiatives and achievements of the different Departments of the Ministry of Finance and Defence in the last three years – 2014-15 to 2016-17.
The Finance Minister said that another major contribution of the present Government was clear direction in decision making, creating an atmosphere for the growth of the economy at large so that it could be ensured that the benefits of the growth accrue to the poor and underprivileged section of society in particular.
Another major achievement of the present Government, Jaitley said, was Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Reforms as a result of which India was the largest recipient of FDI in the world, especially in the last two years, 2015-16 and 2016-17. The Finance Minister said that despite the low private investment, FDI along with public investment played an important role in investment cycle. The Finance Minister said that the present Central Government also took special care to strengthen the State Governments by allocating more funds to them as per the recommendations of 14th Finance Commission.
Jaitley further said that the present NDA Government created a federal institution (GST Council) based on federal taxation i.e. Goods and Services Tax (GST) which is now at the last stage of its implementation. This will be a historical indirect tax reform which will bring transparency, simplicity and efficiency in the tax administration, Jaitley said adding the present Government also implemented JAM (Jandhan, Aadhar Mobile) Trinity based financial inclusion system under which a law relating to Aadhar was enacted so that resources are optimally utilised by plugging the leakages and eliminating the underserved category of beneficiaries.
Underscoring demonetisation as a major decision of the present Government, the Finance Minister said that it has helped the Government in three ways. Firstly by having greater movement towards digitization of transactions, secondly, helped in widening of the tax payers base which contributed to increase in the revenue collections by more than 18% during 2016-17 and thirdly, sending a strong message that it is no longer safe to deal in cash. The Finance Minister said that demonetization has established a ‘new normal’.
Highlighting other achievements of the present Government in the Financial Sector, the Finance Minister spoke about “Operation Clean Money”, constitution of Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) and enactment of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code among others, He said that these have brought transformational changes in the Indian economy. Jaitley further said that we are conscious of various challenges including resolution of Public Sector Banks’ NPAs, challenge of how to increase private sector investment and the uncertainty in the global economic situation among others.
Jaitley also highlighted the achievements of the present Government in Defence Sector which include implementation of long pending One Rank One Pension (OROP) Scheme for the retired defence personnel, putting New Defence Procurement Policy in place and encouraging Defence Manufacturing within the county, balancing both public and private sector manufacturing in defence sector and Strategic Partnership Policy to supplement FDI among others. Shri Jaitley concluded his Opening Remarks by stating that the manner in which defence acquisitions were cleared during the last three years of the present Government is incomparable to inaction during the previous regime in this regard.
Along with the Union Minister for Finance, Defence and Corporate Affairs Arun Jaitley, the Press Conference was also attended by both the Ministers of State for Finance Santosh Kumar Gangwar and Arjun Ram Meghwal; Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa; Revenue Secretary Dr. Hasmukh Adhia; Ms. Anjuly Chib Duggal, Secretary (DFS); Tapan Ray, Secretary (Economic Affairs & Corporate Affairs), Neeraj Kumar Gupta, Secretary (DIPAM); A.K. Gupta, Secretary, Defence Production; Dr. Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) and Ravi Kant, Additional Secretary (Defence) among others.
Click here for more details regardng the key initiatives and achievements of the five different Departments under the Ministry of Finance, Government of India during the last three years (2014-15 to 2016-17), as underscored by the Government