Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Sunday outlined the road map for the second year of the NDA government which includes making taxation more reasonable and improving the ease of doing business in India.
Maintaining the speed of reforms and eliminating discretions would be the thrust areas of the government going forward as it completes one year in office, he told.
The Finance Minister also dismissed any perception that nothing has moved on the ground on the policy front in reviving the economy and said that view was confined only to a section of critics.
Answering a question about voices from India Inc. complaining that the government was not walking the talk, Jaitley said there was no such “overwhelming perception”.
Some of the reports complaining about the economy not having taken off were “inspired news items referring to a dozen people without naming a single”, he said.
A section of corporates voicing disappointment were those who were used to a “system of largesses”, according to the Minister.
As for taxation, the Minister said, the effort would be to make it “more reasonable”.
While on the indirect tax side, the government proposes to roll out the GST by April 1, 2016, on the direct taxes side the Minister said that the rates for corporate tax would be brought down to 25 percent from 30 percent over a period of four years.
The government also intends to eliminate exemptions while reducing the rate of corporate tax, though these would be retained for individual taxpayers.
“I would keep exemptions but keep that for individual tax payers and in the last two years I have strengthened the kind of exemptions,” he said, adding it would help in increasing demand and promoting growth.
Speaking about the challenges before the government, he said: “One there is a huge road map how to ease your doing business here…I would say (that) is work in progress”.
Besides pushing the pending legislations like GST and the land acquisition law, Jaitley said, the effort would be to replace the practice of giving permissions through a regulatory mechanism.
That would help in boosting investment and improve execution of projects, he added.
The government, Jaitley said, was also proposing a bankruptcy code to help companies exit the projects.
Referring to the perception that government had done nothing on ground on policy, he said, on the contrary it has been able to restore credibility of the economy through quick decision making and further opening of doors to domestic and international investment and expressed confidence that GDP will expand by over 8 percent this fiscal.
The government, he said, has taken all possible policy decisions.
“There is no such overwhelming perception. The perception is essentially amongst a section of the critics. Because that section of the critics will say, this (decision) is a favour to corporates and the next day he will say corporates are unhappy. The two things cannot co-exist,” Jaitley said.