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FM Jaitley promises structural reforms, infra spending to boost growth

Wooing Japanese investors, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today promised more structural and market-oriented reforms as well as stepping up infrastructure spending to accelerate economic growth beyond the current 7.6 per cent.

He also promised to reform the tax structure to make it simpler, predictable and stable.

Speaking at ‘The Future of Asia’ Conference organised by Nikkei Inc here, he said India has been the fastest growing major economy in the last two years despite global slowdown.

“We had a back to back 7.2 per cent and 7.6 per cent growth rate in the last two years. This was notwithstanding the global slowdown which has also adversely impacted the trade in India,” said Jaitley, who is on a six-day tour of Japan to attract investments.

The country has been able to perform despite adversities in two consecutive bad monsoons and some stress in the Indian private sector, the Finance Minister added.

“But then notwithstanding these adversities, a series of structural reforms, coupled with a large amount of enhanced public spending and a FDI, we maintained a reasonably respectable growth rate,” he said.

Jaitley said a very large number of reforms have taken place over the last few years. “The objective has been to bring about structural reforms in India, and I think the consistency of that direction has helped in restoring the credibility of the Indian economy,” he said.

In the last two years, 101 legislations have been passed in Parliament but there remain some which require a lot more time to build a larger consensus, he said alluding to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill that is stuck in the Rajya Sabha for months now.

He expressed hope the GST Bill will be passed by the Upper House in the ensuing monsoon session of Parliament.

On things to come, he said, “The direction that I have indicated is of more structural reforms, more market-oriented reforms and the future direction of stepping up infrastructure spending, concentrating on rural areas and social security, I think this direction will consistently be maintained.”

While India started reforms in 1991, the second generation of reforms were unveiled when the BJP-led government came to power in 2014, he said. “We have opened out more sectors in the economy. While opening out to both international and domestic investments, we removed the unnecessary conditionalities, we eased the process of doing business in India. It is far easier than what it was years ago.” .