Centre facing flak for being ‘too fast’, says Jaitley

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 19, 2015 Published on February 19, 2015

Facilitating business (from left) Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at the launch of an eBiz Portal, with Minister of State for Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman, and Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha, in New Delhi, on Thursday KAMAL NARANG

In oblique reference to Deepak Parekh’s charge of no change on ground

A day after HDFC’s Deepak Parekh said businessmen were getting impatient as nothing had changed on the ground in the first nine months of the Narendra Modi government, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley hit back saying that, on the contrary, the government was being criticised for being ‘too fast.’

“It’s an irony that after having seen lethargic governments, you today have a government that is criticised for being too fast,” he said in a conference to launch a new portal to facilitate ‘ease of doing business’.

Jaitley did not respond to a specific media query on Parekh’s criticism. However, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman felt that the Finance Minister had, in a way, spoken about it.

Ordinance ‘factory’

On the spate of ordinances promulgated during the last two months, Jaitley said the Centre has chosen the route to expedite legislative changes to promote businesses. “Wait till the cows come home and decisions can be taken. So, in fact one great criticism which has come is that you should have waited and not acted fast,” he said.

Criticising the way things were being run under the previous, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime, he said: “In a country where you are not certain whether you will get land to set up business, you are not certain as to the stability and predictability of taxation, we scored too many self-goals in the past”.

More measures

Ahead of the presentation of the Union Budget on February 28, Jaitley promised to make it easier to do business, expedite environmental clearances for projects and encourage domestic as well as overseas investments.

He said the best way to deal with poverty is to encourage business and industry as they bring in higher revenues for the Central government to help it deal with the problem.

Jaitley was also critical of the “ultra aggressive” tax policy of the UPA government, saying that it had driven away global investors and forced domestic industry to look for investment opportunities elsewhere.

On environmental clearances, he clarified that they would have to be balanced with ecological considerations, and expedited.

Published on February 19, 2015
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