Jaitley says GST will be in place soon, reforms to continue

New Delhi, Feb 4 (IANS) Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said again on Thursday that the goods and services tax regime (GST) will become a reality soon, and added reforms in the country’ direct tax system were also the government’s priority. He said reforms have no finishing line.

“The GST has been supported by most of the political parties. I am sure others will also see reason — it law will become a reality very soon,” the finance minister told the inaugural session of the two-day India Investment Summit here.
The main opposition to the current format of the GST bill is from the Congress party that wants the government to scrap the proposed 1 percent additional levy to compensate states for losses for the switch, incorporate the GST rate within the bill and limit the exempt items.
Jaitley said along with the indirect tax system, the direct tax regime was also being revamped.
“We want to rationalise our direct tax system — to make it one of the most competitive regimes in the world comparable with what competitive economies elsewhere have,” the finance minister said, as he prepares to unveil the national budget for the next fiscal on February 29.
Jaitley said even as concerns remain over the global financial system, India has now become and will remain the fastest growing economies in the world, since it has the potential to grow even faster, with full potential awaiting to be realised.
He said global investors can also benefit in the process since the country needed investment in infrastructure, including roads, highways, fly-overs, railways, power, renewable energy, oil and gas, ports and airports among others.
“It will be a win-win situation for both India and those who are investing in India,” he said, and assured investors that his government was working on faster dispute resolution so that no project is held up.
Jaitley also said a very effective bankruptcy and insolvency bill that was introduced in parliament in the previous session will see a passage during the ensuing session, for which a panel was burning mid-night oil to sumbit a report by the first week of March.
“One of our greatest challenges was to re-establish the credibility of Indian markets. In order to establish the credibility of the Indian economy, it is important that we not only reform but continue reform only in one direction,” he said.
“We have eased out the processes. Several conditionalities that made the investment process more difficult, even those conditionalities have also been sliced away,” he said. “For reforms, there is no finishing line.”