Jaitley counters Yashwant Sinha with FDI figures, PSU spending

29 Sep 2017


Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday held a series of meetings with industry captains and exporters as the government looked for a solution to the teething troubles of GST implementation and reenergise the economy.

Jaitley also invited suggestions to improve the new indirect tax system and ensure the compliance burden does not adversely affect businesses, especially small and medium ones.

Jaitley also sought to puncture claims made in an article in a national daily written by senior BJP leader and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha that claimed the economy was in a tailspin.

''We have brought the current account and fiscal deficits down, brought rupee under control and opened up several sectors for FDI. Today PSE capital expenditure is Rs3,00,000 crore, FDI remains the largest ever and direct tax collections are 15.7 per cent more,'' Jaitley said while countering Sinha.

Sinha also called demonetisation an ''unmitigated disaster'' slapped on the economy and GST a hasty step, which gave the opposition a fresh chance to mount an attack on the government (See: Modi govt has made 'mess' of economy: Yashwant Sinha).

Jaitley said fiscal prudence was not an easy job and the NDA government changed the old normal of black money and shadow economy. It also ended discretion, the root of political corruption that was prevalent in New Delhi.

The finance minister, however, admitted that the government was facing a challenge of a temporary slowdown in the economy due to demonetisation but was taking all steps to address it.

Finance ministry officials said the government's fiscal deficit target is unlikely to be breached despite revenue shortfall in the short term.

''The fiscal deficit target of the government will not be breached. It will remain at 3.2 per cent of the GDP,'' finance secretary secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said.

The government is also preparing special funds and duty credit scrips for exporters who have suffered due to late refunds in the wake of GST, a source said.

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