Response to global crises is to stay on reform course: Jaitley

New Delhi, Aug 24 (IANS) Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stressed the need to maintain course on economic reforms in the face of such “transient crisis” as the BSE saw its sharpest fall in terms of points on Monday.

“Today we are faced with multiple challenges. Last fortnight China’s devaluation created ripples in global markets, and would also leave a transient impact on us,” Jaitley said in his address at the conference of chief commissioners and director generals of customs, central excise and service tax.

“Our response to global problems has to be to strenghten our own economy. It is important that our own determination to go on the roadmap we have set for ourselves gets further strengthened,” he said.

The Bombay Stock Exchange fall on Monday was the steepest ever, surpassing the fall of of 1,408 points, or 7.4 percent, at the close of trading session on Jan 21, 2008.

In this connection, Jaitley said the major reform of India’s indirect tax system would soon become a reality.

“I have not the least doubt about (goods and services tax).. eventually GST is an idea everybody, states and political parties, have accepted,” he said.

“So sooner, rather than later, it should see light of day,” he added.

About the pan-India GST, he said: “It has the capacity both the widen the tax base and reduce the level of harassment, as well of adding to the country’s GDP growth.”

The finance minister pointed out that the trend of indirect tax collections, that are up 37 percent in first four months of this fiscal, are signs of some economic recovery.

“Even if additional revenue (excise on petrol, service tax hike) are excluded, indirect tax take is still up by 14.6 percent over last year,” he said.

“The timetable and geographic spread of the monsoons has been reasonable, so demand towards the end of the year will increase and so will economic activity,” he added.

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