GST, demonetisation proving good for economy, says Jaitley

Goods and Services Tax (GST) and demonetisation are resulting in increasing tax compliance and squeezing quantum of cash in the economy, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said.

There is public support to the reforms being undertaken by the governments of the day both at the centre and state levels, Jaitley reportedly said in his key note address via video conference to the Berkeley India Conference.

“I do hope that India is able to retain its growth rate once again and live up to the aspirations of its people because we must not forget that we not only have a large population to service, we have a very young population to service,” he reportedly said.

The union finance minister is scheduled to arrive on nearly a week-long visit to the US tomorrow to interact with the US corporate world in New York and Boston and attend the annual meeting of International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington DC, reported PTI.

With young population there is not only a perception that they are being ‘under serviced’, but also, they are becoming more and more aspirational, he said. “Time therefore is running against us,” Jaitley reportedly said.

In the next one or two decades, if India has to take a challenge for moving into a higher economic group country, “we have to grow at a much faster pace,” he was quoted as saying.

Jaitley in response to a question refuted the impression that transformational initiatives like Swachh Bharat, GST and demonetisation have not resulted in any changes on the ground.

“Would you say there are long term benefits and the country would have to wait for those? Or is there any way to mitigate the problem being faced by the country,” the finance minister was asked.

A more serious analysis, he argued, would show that even within matter of months there is a short term positive impact of all these projects.

While demonetisation and GST are having desired impact in terms of tax compliances and squeezing the quantum of cash in the economy, the minister said for the first time, Swachh Bharat campaign has brought to fore the importance of sanitation and cleanliness, media reports said.

Observing that sizable progress is being made in terms of sanitation and cleanliness, he reportedly said for the first time in Indian history this has become a centre stage agenda and is moving forward.

The campaign is having both short term and long-term impact. “It’s a movement that has become far beyond a governmental program. It a mass movement,” PTI quoted Jaitley as saying.

Before demonetisation, Indian normal was to live with a high cash economy, not paying taxes, “you buy a property, you transact partly in cash, and in business you maintain two sets of accounts,” he reportedly said.

“How can a country, which aims to be the fastest growing major economy in the world, which aspires to grow from a developing to a developed economy, continue with the normal of this type,” he asked.

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