Economy

‘Onus on Govt to improve ease of doing biz’

SURABHI New Delhi | Updated on January 22, 2018

Wooing investors Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley with Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh and Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje during the opening ceremony of Resurgent Rajasthan Partnership Summit 2015 in Jaipur, on Thursday ROHIT JAIN PARAS

There is massive public support for reforms, says Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said public opinion and aspirations are in favour of reforms and it is the responsibility of governments to improve the ease of doing business and attract investments to spur growth.

“There is huge amount of public support for investments and reforms. The onus is now on us to increase the ease of doing business… lower corruption, ensure taxation is at a reasonable level and all facilities — capital, land and natural resources are available in a non-discriminatory manner,” he said at the inaugural session of the Resurgent Rajasthan Partnership Summit.

Rajasthan, which is the pioneer in labour reforms, must also lead the way in improving ease of doing business, he said.

He further stressed that ease of doing business is not just a slogan, but involves reducing the time period in government approvals and the actual launch of the projects. Jaitley’s comments come a day after the Cabinet cleared a spate of proposals for selling government stake in Coal India and measures to spur highway construction, including direct compensation for stalled road projects.

Noting that investor summits point to increased inflows of investments, Jaitley said that India has been over the last months working to attract foreign capital. “Public investment and FDI has significantly increased. Private investment is picking up. Rajasthan will gain from all these measures,” he noted.

Power sector

Referring to UDAY, the financial turnaround package for power distribution companies cleared by the Cabinet two weeks ago, Jaitley said it marks the start of a new chapter and will help bring in investments in States like Rajasthan.

Debts of the Rajasthan discom amounted to ₹21,000 crore in 2008 and further rose to ₹72,000 crore by 2013.

“The result of this was that people do not pay for the power they consume….Today, the cost of power in Rajasthan has a ₹2 interest burden due to mismanagement of the tariff,” Jaitley said. Pointing out that public sector banks were also under stress as they had lent to these discoms, he noted that it eventually impacted the entire economy. “Because of these loans, banks find it difficult to lend to other sectors,” he said.

Meanwhile, trying to allay concerns of the international community over growing intolerance in the country, Parliamentary Affairs and Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah said that stray incidents have been blown out of proportion.

“India is the most tolerant country…stray incidents have been blown out of proportion …to create an intolerant image of the country,” he said at the inaugural session, adding that people have given the government the mandate for development.

(The writer is in Jaipur at the invitation of Rajasthan Government )

Published on November 19, 2015

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