Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented Narendra Modi government's one-year report card on Friday, terming the period as one moving from despair to hope.
Here are 10 major statements he made at the press conference:
- GST and Land Bill: The government is taking up Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Land Bill on priority. "We are in the process of creating history by bringing about the most important indirect tax reform," he said. "Our priority is to get the GST and land bills passed by Parliament," he added.
- He advocated for RBI to cut interest rates by 25 basis points in its next monetary policy. "It is," said Jaitley, when asked whether the time is right for the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to effect an interest rate cut.
- The government is looking at strategic sale of stakes in state-run companies to meet its target of raising funds from asset sales. Jaitley said that the government will be going for strategic sale as well as disinvestment to raise revenue. He said that he had proposals for secondary divestment for over 50 thousand crores. "Apart from this, many ministries have approached me for disinvestment in their non-core sectors and we are looking at it. Our decision will be balanced and the process will be to divest or make a strategic sale as the case demands," he said.
- Jaitley said that the corporate tax needs to be brought down to global levels. Currently the corporate tax stands at 30 per cent which needs to be brought down to 25 per cent, as announced in the annual Budget. "We must ... remove discretion, phase out exemptions and bring the effective rate (corporate tax rate) down to global levels," he said.
- On Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) issue the Finance Minister said that it will be resolved through judicial procedure. "It would have been better if the judicial authority in 2012 could have reached a resolution. I have stopped it (MAT on foreign investors) from April 1, 2015. However, old issues will have to be resolved through judicial process," he said.
- The compliance window under the Black Money Act, that has already been passed, will be announced in a few days. "Notifications with regard to Black Money Bill will be issued shortly," he said.
- He said the value of the rupee should be market-driven.
- The government will increase spending on rural infrastructure and irrigation.
- The Center is committed to bring about 'One Rank One Pension' for defence personnel.
- The government is in consultations with the RBI on setting up an independent public debt management agency.