Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the Reserve Bank of India will be able to complete the process of remonetisation “very soon” and assured captains of trade and industry that once this is done and makes substantial headway and turf issue on the sharing of revenue from GST is resolved, these decisions will mark a creation of a new normal for India.
“The normal which we have seen for the last 70 years is not acceptable,” he said while inaugurating the 89th Annual General Meeting of FICCI in New Delhi today.
The Finance Minister said that the downside of a cash heavy economy are tax non-compliance, escaping the tax net and use of cash for illegal purposes. Conscious efforts will have to be made, he said, to supplement the reduced cash currency with digital currency.
Jaitley said that in the last five weeks, there has been a significant increase in the usage of digital modes of payments and the majority supports this move. He added that this transformation will have to be taken to its logical conclusion. “To take bold decisions, one needs to have clarity of direction, courage and stamina to sustain the reforms process and government is determined for this,” he declared.
Speaking on GST, the Finance Minister said that 10 major decisions have already been taken by the GST Council and all of these have been by consensus. Centre and State legislations are being drafted and there should not be any major difficulty in these being approved. There are one or two issues with regard to cross empowerment of Centre and states, which will be amicably solved.
The Finance Minister said that the current mode of taxation will continue till September 16, 2017 and the range of timing for GST to be implemented will be between April 1, 2017 and September 16, 2017. The earlier this is introduced, the better it is and since GST is a transactional tax, it can be introduced at any time of the year unlike the income tax.
He said that the reforms, recently introduced by the government, indicate that today in the country there is capacity to both take decisions and enforce such decisions at a time when the world is looking inwards. Such decision making when the world is looking inwards marks an exception for India.
Harshavardhan Neotia, President of FICCI, pointed out that the slew of measures taken by the government to tackle the parallel economy such as transparency in allocation of resources, the Income Declaration Scheme, the foreign black money declaration scheme, the Benami Transaction Amendment Bill and demonetization have all been steps towards fighting black money, reducing corruption and moving towards a more organized and digitized economic environment.
Pankaj Patel, President-Elect of FICCI, said that FICCI would work with the government to support the reform initiatives focused on rationalization of taxes and early implementation of the GST, working towards a corruption-free India, Ease of Doing Business – Phase II, enhancing the role of industry to strengthen the economy and a consultative approach to create a stable and predictable economic environment.
On the occasion the Finance Minister also released a book titled- ‘Economy of Jobs.’
The book is an effort to encourage the discussion and debate on job creation. The articles cover issues related to demographics, education, skill development, entrepreneurship, impact of technology, labour laws, employment statistics as well as specific issues across sectors like agriculture, food processing, textiles, automotive, pharmaceuticals, travel and hospitality, financial services, information technology, telecom as well as new age sectors like the green economy. The various ideas emanating from this book will help in formulating a long term plan and strategies to achieve the objective of ‘work for all’ and enable meeting the aspirations of 1.25 billion people.