Friday November 22, 2019
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Arun Jaitley slams Congress for delay in GST bill

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New Delhi: Lashing out at the Congress party again for blocking a pan-India goods and service tax regime, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said some reform-oriented laws, nonetheless, were expected to be passed during the remaining three days of what has been a none-too-productive winter session of parliament thus far.

“The next three days are crucial with very important pieces of legislation coming up before our parliament,” Jaitley said here addressing the annual general meeting of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).

Among the legislations listed by him, one was on the bankruptcy code and the other on arbitration.

Nonetheless, he said the steps taken by his government will prove to be beneficial. “We’re hoping that structural reforms undertaken will help us go to 8 percent growth in 2016-17,” he said, even as the mid-term economic survey released a day before had cut the prospect to 7-7.5 percent.

Jaitley’s speech had political content as well, notably on the effort in vain, thus far, to get the goods and services tax bill passed in the current parliament session. “I’ve no doubt in my mind that the attempt to delay the GST is entirely for collateral reasons,” he said.

“The only collateral reason I suspect is: ‘If I couldn’t do it, then why to let someone else do it’!” Jaitley exclaimed, but added: “A delayed GST is better than a flawed GST.”

As regards the legislations which the government wished the two houses to consider over the next three days, Jaitley said one of them sought to put India back on the global adjudication map for cases of arbitration as the costs of such litigation were enormous abroad.

“We’re bringing in a bill for fast-track arbitration, including single-member tribunals.”

He also referred to the proposed new bankruptcy code that aims to resolve cases of insolvency at the earliest so that amounts lent to such companies can also be recovered fast. The bill has proposed a timeline of 180 days, extendable by another 90 days, to resolve such cases.

Speaking at the event later, Jaitley’s deputy and Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha forewarned that low farm sector growth and the cost of implementing the pay commission recommendations together with a slow global expansion will prove to be taxing for his government next year.

“Next year is a challenging year. Headwinds of two major factors will be slowing us down,” Sinha said, adding the slowing farm output growth was the result of two successive years of bad monsoon and the global slowdown was hitting India’s merchandise exports.

He also said the government has its task cut out in meeting the fiscal deficit targets.(IANS)

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India to Withdraw Pakistan’s ‘Most Favoured Nation’ Status

The Ministry of Commerce will issue the necessary communication in this regard, Jaitley added.

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Arun Jaitley
Jaitley said that the CCS observed a two-minute silence for those who made the ultimate sacrifice and expressed their condolences to the bereaved families. Wikimedia

Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said that the government has decided to withdraw the “Most Favoured Nation” status given to Pakistan, in the wake of the worst-ever terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir a day ago when a CRPF convoy in Pulwama was rammed into by an explosive-packed SUV that has left 45 troopers dead.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the suicide attack on Thursday that proved to be the most devatating since militancy erupted in 1989.

Speaking to the media after the meeting, Jaitley said: “The most favoured nation status which has been granted to Pakistan stands withdrawn.”

Arun Jaitley
“The most favoured nation status which has been granted to Pakistan stands withdrawn.” Pixabay

The Ministry of Commerce will issue the necessary communication in this regard, he added.

“The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) will initiate all possible steps, and I am referring to all diplomatic steps, which are to be taken to ensure the complete isolation from the international community of Pakistan of which incontrovertible evidence are available of having the direct hand in this gruesome terrorist attack,” Jaitley said.

The MEA in due course will keep you informed with regard to steps taken, he added.

Jaitley said that the MEA would also engage with the international community to make sure that the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism which has been pending for over three decades with the UN, particularly because of the definition of the word terrorism, must be adopted at the earliest.

 

Arun Jaitley
“The most favoured nation status which has been granted to Pakistan stands withdrawn.”, says Jaitley. Pixabay

Besides Modi and Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman were also present at the meeting.

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Jaitley said that the CCS observed a two-minute silence for those who made the ultimate sacrifice and expressed their condolences to the bereaved families. At least 38 others continue in hospitals with injuries in the attack that has left the security establishment stunned.

He said the CRPF of course will make detailed arrangement with regard to transporting the bodies of the deceased to their families. (IANS)