Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Jaitley targets Manmohan, Chidambaram; urges Congress to change 'advisors'

New Delhi, Mar 22 : Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today made a veiled attack on former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram - who made a case to suggest that the demonetisation would result in drop of GDP by two per cent.

Replying to the debate on the Finance Bill, 2017 in the Lok Sabha; the Finance Minister told Congress Floor Leader Mallikarjun Kharge that it was high time that the party changed its 'advisors'."For 10 years, those people who controlled the country's economy, they had given an argument that due to demonetisation, GDP rate would decline by two per cent and that for seven months, the new currency cannot be printed....even your traditional support base has rejected you this time," Mr Jaitley said, in reference to the massive election victory BJP recorded in Uttar Pradesh, while the Congress and its ally Samajwadi Party were humbled.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said in Rajya Sabha on November 24, 2016 that banning of high value currency notes could lead to decline in GDP.

"....My own feeling is that the national income, that is the GDP, can decline by about 2 per cent as a result of what has been done. This is an underestimate, not an overestimate," Dr Singh had said.
About a week before Dr Singh's speech, another Congress leader and former Finance Minister
P Chidambaram had said in a media interview that it would take seven months to replace the equivalent of the banned Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency.

Quoting noted economist Martin Wolf's column in a globally reputed newspaper, Mr Jaitley said - the note ban move has been hailed as an act of a decisive leader like Modi who took "unpopular decisions for the benefit of the country" as against those who take "arbitrary decisions" for their own benefit.
"Historians may judge the shock of demonetisation as an example of the former," Mr Jaitley said quoting Wolf.

Defending government's digitilisation programme, the Finance Minister wondered why political parties were making virtue of cash economy.

"Crime does not end....but is cash a great incentiviser in crime," the Minister said. The Finance Minister said some Opposition Members had been misled by an article in the media that suggested that the IT assessing authorities had been given the blanket power to raid the tax payer's premises at their whims. This was not true, he said.
Mr Jaitley said the change brought out in the Finance Bill in the Section 132 (A) of IT Act has only tried to improve over the existing provision under which the sources of information had to be disclosed to the person raided.
This was "drying up" the sources, because,  for example, no employee of any person having unaccounted wealth would like his name to be disclosed to his employer, who had been raided. 
The  Finance Minister also disputed the Opposition's claim that tax collection had decreased following the note ban. Rather, he said,  the Government was going to achieve the revised target of Rs 17 lakh crore tax collection in 2016-17.
He said the target for the fiscal 2107-18 was Rs 19.5 lakh crore. "In these, Rs 9.8 lakh crore will be direct taxes and Rs 9.25 lakh crore will from the indirect tax net," the Finance Minister added.

People in Bengal know implications of cash, Jaitley takes potshot at Trinamool MPs

Jaitley today took a dig at Trinamool Congress party and also its senior member Saugata Roy over the latter's insistence on why the government is so determined about pushing for cashless economy.

Replying to the debate on the Finance Bill in the Lok Sabha, Mr Jaitley said, "In your state people know the implications of cash".
The remarks assume significance as West Bengal polity has been rocked by Sharda chit fund scam that has hit several key Trinamool Congress leaders and two of its sitting MPs were arrested in January.
It is also noteworthy that in the Narada scam wherein video footage was circulated about Trinamool MPs receiving cash -- even the name of Saugata Roy had figured.
The Calcutta High Court and Supreme Court have now ordered a CBI probe into the Narada cash for MPs scam while the premier probe agency is already investigating the Sharda scam.

PM Modi, Gujarat benefitted from 'new LPG' phenomenon of global economy: BJP MP

New Delhi, Mar 22 The western Indian state of Gujarat and Mr Narendra Modi as the Chief Minister were only able to reap maximum benefits of "new LPG" status of country's economic policy in the last decade, a BJP lawmaker said in the Lok Sabha today.
"In terms of new economic system in the country, the last decade belonged to the neo-LPG -- Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation. And in all that only Indian state that reaped the maximum benefit was Gujarat," BJP Member Shivkumar Udasi said while participating in the Finance Bill.

For achieving the feats of higher growth rate and development in Gujarat, of course, he said the credit should go to the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

He said since country's Independence, every decade or two has seen the dominance of a specific socio-economic and political ideology. In 1950s and sixties, it saw the domination of communism and socialism; since 1970s - it was "mere Socialism and Populism", the Haveri MP from Karnataka said and pointed out that in 1990s -- the stint of PV Narasimha Rao saw only Liberalism.

But 2000 onward there came changes and slowly there was unraveling of a new economic and political structure. "During this period, there was Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation and during this 'LPG' only state to garner maximum benefit was Gujarat," he said.

The BJP Member tried to suggest that the new decade has thrown open many challenges and a 'protectionist' era has come in various parts of the world.


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