Arun Jaitley promises to hike public spending on infra to boost growth - Alternative Media Forum


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Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Arun Jaitley promises to hike public spending on infra to boost growth

NEW DELHI(PTI): Seeking to push economic growth, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today promised to hike public spending on infrastructure, ease entry barriers for overseas investors and introduce GST Bill besides pitching for more interest rate cuts by the RBI.

The government would also unveil more initiatives to promote ease of doing business while taking advantage of the 'historic opportunity' to push growth rate to double-digit level, he said.

"I have mentioned about allocation of resources, resolution of disputes in government contract, bankruptcy law so that the exit itself becomes easier.

"In the ease of doing business there are some initiatives that are in pipeline from entry point to time gap between the entry point and actual start of business, to the enabling environment, the exit and to a non-adversarial taxation regime," he said addressing investors at 'The Growth Net' meeting.

Jaitley parried questions on giving a fixed five-year term to the RBI Governor saying that let others participate in the debate and he would speak at the end.

The Minister, however, expressed the hope that RBI would reduce the interest rate which will give a boost to the manufacturing sector.

"I am quite certain we will see more cuts (in policy rates) in future. But as of today if you ask me how much and when, it is in the domain of the Reserve Bank and I will leave it to them (RBI)," he said.

Stating that manufacturing sector is challenging, he said: "It is here that we have to actually invent the key engine of growth. This is an area where countries which overtook us. China is an obvious example...

"Our concentration therefore is on 'Make in India', ability to try and device various methods of financing infrastructure...This is one are where we need to seriously concentrate on."

Noting that liquidity is getting into railways, highways, and ports, Jaitley said he said he doesn't expect the private sector to suddenly raise funds and say it will build infrastructure.

"This (investment) is the first responsibility of the government particularly when you are trying to get out of the slowdown phase, we are quite conscious of that".

In the Finance Bill 2015 government has proposed to collect Rs 80,000 crore from cess for the National Highway Authority and the Railways.

Recently, the Railways and and LIC have entered into pact for Rs 1.5 lakh crore investment.

Jaitley said with liquidity in the hands of highway authority, "incomplete projects can also be assisted by them through some fund mechanism".

The Finance Minister stressed that the government focus was to improve ease doing business in India.

Commenting on disinvestment programme of the government, Jaitley said the government has drawn up a list of PSUs for strategic sale to achieve the ambitious target of Rs 69,500 crore in the next fiscal.

Jaitley also expressed hope the Constitutional Amendment Bill to roll out GST would be passed by Parliament in the second leg of the Budget session beginning April 20.

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