Jaitley wants GST in place by start of next fiscal

09 September 2015

Finance minister Arun Jaitley said today he still wants to implement a new goods and services tax (GST) by next 1 April, although the opposition Congress party could delay its passage through the legislature.

Addressing a business conference in New Delhi, Jaitley said it was important to stay on the path of reform and build momentum to achieve higher economic growth. The current global economic situation presented an opportunity for India, he said.

The GST, which economists estimate could add 2 percentage points to country's gross domestic product, has failed to clear Parliament due to a blockade of the upper house by the Congress party.

Jaitley said the composition of the upper house - which represents India's federal states - would change next April, suggesting that the balance of power would tilt in favour of the government.

Asked whether bad loans and banking were the main worry for the economy, he said, "The banking system is a matter of concern - it is not the main worry, there are no grounds for panic."

Jaitley, who was speaking at an economist conference, highlighted steel, power, electricity distribution companies, and to a lesser extent textiles and highways as the main sectors under stress.

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