Govt working overtime to push reforms; GDP to rise to 6-6.5%: FM


New Delhi: Committing to push growth rate to 6-6.5 percent in the next fiscal, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the government is “working overtime” to push reforms, especially, in sectors like insurance, coal and Goods and Services Tax (GST).

“We are working overtime on reforms…Insurance bill will be taken up next week”, the Minister said.

The Minister further said that he sat late last evening with state Finance Ministers to sort out the issues hampering roll out of the long-pending GST.

“I will try to introduce the Constitution amendment bill for GST in the current session of Parliament so that it could be discussed and considered in the next session,” he said, adding the bill to clear mess in the coal during UPA regime is being taken up by Parliament.

The government, Jaitley said, was hopeful of achieving an economic growth rate of 6-6.5 percent in the next financial year and over 7 percent thereafter.

Refuting the criticism that government has not taken any big-ticket reform measures in the last six months, the Minister said, they are not about “sensationalising things. One should see the big picture.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he added, announced the important decision of abolishing the Planning Commission, an institution which which became irrelevant after the introduction of the economic reforms in 1991.

He further said the government decontrolled diesel and would take more steps to streamline public expenditure and rationalise subsidies after receiving the report of the Expenditure Commission.

On black money the Finance Minister said the assessment in 627 accounts of HSBC concerning overseas accounts would be completed by March 31, 2015.

Identity of 427 account holders abroad has been established and 250 of them have admitted to having accounts, he said.

Bringing back black money stashed abroad is a procedure which will take time, he said, adding, international treaties have to be respected and honoured.

Asked why this government was shying away from bringing big bang reforms, Jaitley said, “sensationalism is not part of economic planning.”

The government has taken series of measures in the last six months including linking of diesel price with market price, auctioning of coal blocks etc.

On Jan Dhan, he said, this financial inclusion scheme is different from the previous government financial inclusion drive.

It has got huge response and 10 crore accounts are expected to be opened by January 26.

As of yesterday, 8.80 crore account have been opened under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana.

On SBI agreeing to provide USD 1 billion loan to Adani project in Australia, he said, this is just an agreement. No disbursement has taken place.

“He (Adani) has applied to the bank (SBI). If he has creditworthiness he will get loan otherwise he will not get loan,” he said.

Adani Mining is building a 300-km rail line for its about USD 16 billion Carmichael coal mine project in Australia.

The development of the coal mine located at Queensland in Australia and required infrastructure including railways is estimated to cost USD 7.6 billion.

Queensland state’s Coordinator General has approved USD 2 billion (2.2 billion Australian dollars) rail line project called the North Galilee Basin Rail (NGBR) that would link Adani’s Carmichael Coal Mine with Abbot point coal terminal.

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