GST bill passage a matter of time, says Jaitley 

New Delhi, Nov 4 (IANS) Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Wednesday that passing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill was just a matter of time.

“When the bill is put to vote, I see it going through,” said Jaitley at the World Economic Forum here.

Jaitley said here last week that the government would make all efforts to pass the GST bill in the forthcoming winter session of parliament.

He expressed his satisfaction with the progress made in implementing taxation reforms, both direct and indirect.

Jaitley was speaking at the National Strategy Day on India, jointly organised by the World Economic Forum and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

He said the large number of legacy issues on taxation that he had inherited have largely been sorted out.

Regarding the GST, he said the supporting legislation and the IT backbone are ready and there is little conceptual opposition to the idea.

Responding to a question on ways to revive private sector investment, Jaitley said in the current situation public investment has to lead the way.

“Considerable amount of resources have been devoted to step up public investment not only by the government but also by public sector enterprises,” he said, adding that the private sector would soon start participating in the investment cycle.

The government, he added, was making resources available to sectors such as highways and railways where expansion would have a positive impact on the rest of the economy.

He highlighted that substantial budgetary resources are now available due to the drop in global oil prices and the strong growth in indirect tax collection.

The subsidy reform implemented by the government, he suggested, is the biggest unsung reform of this government that has enabled resources to be devoted to more productive uses. In addition, resources for investment in infrastructure were being made available by international and domestic insurance and pension funds.

Jaitley said the government is also making an effort to revive the legal framework for public-private partnerships, which needs to be radically changed.

Contracts are being reworked and the time period for arbitration is being brought down. The one problem area within infrastructure, he said, is the power sector where state distribution companies on have become unviable and are unable to lift power from the generating companies.

He said a framework is being developed for resolving this issue which will be announced in the next few days.


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