Govt working to make doing business easier in India

06 Nov 2014


The NDA government is working on a series of measures that include further easing of labour regulations and changes to the new Land Acquisition Act so that doing business in India becomes easier, finance minister Arun Jaitley said while addressing the launch of World Economic Forum's India Economic Summit in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Finance minister Arun JaitleyWhile indicating that the process of pushing through structural economic reforms may be arduous, Jaitley said economic reforms do not mean a major one-time move to remove all regulations.  

''Some think that the second generation of reforms in India probably need one or two big bang ideas. But reforms is not about one sensational idea… you can damage the economy by just one bad idea,'' he said, pointing out that the provision of retrospective taxation was one such proposal that damaged the prospects of the Indian economy.

Addressing the opening day of the two-day India Economic Summit, Jaitley also said a push to the disinvestment process and changes to the norms on allocation of natural resources are on the anvil.

Jaitley maintained that the government will not take any steps to give contrary signals to the investor, adding that India is open to privatisation of certain loss-making public sector companies.

"Certainly I would be interested to look at some PSUs (which) could do much better in private hands," Jaitley said during an interaction at the World Economic Forum in New Delhi, referring to public sector undertakings.

Jaitley said India was moving back on the radar of investors. ''There is a buzz surrounding India now,'' he said. He, however, called for foreign investors to participate in developing India's infrastructure, which, he said, ''has been facing financing issues of late.''

Also, following the recent moves to issue guidelines for auctioning of coal blocks, Jaitley said, the government is considering similar reforms for mining of other minerals. ''With regard to other minerals, we are about to take similar reforms to eliminate the possibility of discretion and crony capitalism,'' he said.

He also expressed hope that the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill would be passed in the coming session of Parliament.

Explaining the reasons behind the move for amending Land acquisition Act, Jaitley said, the new land acquisition law, which checks acquisition of land even for crucial sectors like defence and housing for poor, poses some limitations.

Jaitley said the government is reviewing the second part of the law that deals with land acquisition.

''The law lays down a very complicated procedure for land acquisition. Conceptually, acquisition of land is always a sovereign right because you need land for everything, including building defence cantonments, highways and houses.

Therefore, if land acquisition is made complicated, then the growth process itself gets stalled, and this law has made it extremely complicated… Now, since the confusion has been established, the time has come that at least the second part of the law is relooked,'' said Jaitley, adding that the government has no issue with the new compensation and resettlement scheme as proposed in the land acquisition law.

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