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GST bill passage a matter of time, says Arun Jaitley

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New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Wednesday that passing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill was just a matter of time.

“When the bill is put to vote, I see it going through,” said Jaitley at the World Economic Forum here.

Jaitley said here last week that the government would make all efforts to pass the GST bill in the forthcoming winter session of parliament.

He expressed his satisfaction with the progress made in implementing taxation reforms, both direct and indirect.

Jaitley was speaking at the National Strategy Day on India, jointly organised by the World Economic Forum and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

He said the large number of legacy issues on taxation that he had inherited have largely been sorted out.

Regarding the GST, he said the supporting legislation and the IT backbone are ready and there is little conceptual opposition to the idea.

Responding to a question on ways to revive private sector investment, Jaitley said in the current situation public investment has to lead the way.

“Considerable amount of resources have been devoted to step up public investment not only by the government but also by public sector enterprises,” he said, adding that the private sector would soon start participating in the investment cycle.

The government, he added, was making resources available to sectors such as highways and railways where expansion would have a positive impact on the rest of the economy.

He highlighted that substantial budgetary resources are now available due to the drop in global oil prices and the strong growth in indirect tax collection.

The subsidy reform implemented by the government, he suggested, is the biggest unsung reform of this government that has enabled resources to be devoted to more productive uses.

In addition, resources for investment in infrastructure were being made available by international and domestic insurance and pension funds.

Jaitley said the government is also making an effort to revive the legal framework for public-private partnerships, which needs to be radically changed.

Contracts are being reworked and the time period for arbitration is being brought down. The one problem area within infrastructure, he said, is the power sector where state distribution companies on have become unviable and are unable to lift power from the generating companies.

He said a framework is being developed for resolving this issue which will be announced in the next few days.

(IANS)

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Humanitarian Issues to Figure Prominently At The World Economic Forum

The head of the U.N. Children’s Fund, Henrietta Fore will champion the needs of children and young people who are caught up in humanitarian crises

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World Economic Forum
People walk up stairs at the congress center where the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum 2019, WEF, take place in Davos, Jan. 20, 2019. VOA

Heads of U.N. and international aid agencies will use the World Economic Forum’s influential platform to present humanitarian and human rights issues on behalf of millions of people caught in conflict, poverty and natural disasters. The Forum begins its annual weeklong meeting in the plush Swiss Alpine resort of Davos on Monday.

The World Economic Forum is best known for the many high-powered government and business leaders who make the annual pilgrimage to Davos to acquire lucrative deals and shape geopolitical events.

But the annual event also presents a robust humanitarian agenda. This year, the Forum, World Bank and International Committee of the Red Cross will launch a humanitarian Investing Initiative. The aim is to seek new solutions for protracted humanitarian crises by moving from short-term to long-term funding to support fragile communities.

United Nations aid agencies will feature prominently during the week-long meeting. The World Food Program’s executive director, David Beasley, will co-host events, such as ‘conflict and hunger’ and ‘the use of digital technology in the humanitarian sector.’

World Economic Forum
Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum holds the meeting’s manifesto as he addresses a news conference ahead of the Davos annual meeting in Cologny near Geneva. VOA

Global Tensions

WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel says the group will be seeking support for its operations. He says many of the companies attending Davos understand that investments in food security are fundamental to business success.

“It saves lives and builds stronger markets around the world. In fact, it can increase GDPs by up to 16.5 percent and a person’s lifetime earnings by 46 percent,” he said.

With more than 3,000 of the world’s movers and shakers from 110 countries present, aid agencies see the Forum as a valuable opportunity to strengthen relationships with world leaders and keep their life-saving missions on the world’s agenda.

World Economic Forum
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet attends a news conference at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Dec. 5, 2018. VOA

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet will be attending events on a wide range of topics. Her spokeswoman, Ravina Shamdasani, says these include LGBTI or Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Intersex standards in businesses, and human rights and democracy in a changing world.

“A couple of events on women’s rights as human rights and female leadership. The importance of women playing a role in global affairs by creating a new architecture that allows them to fully participate as leaders and shapers,” she said.

Also Read: The World Economic Forum To Discuss Globalization, Climate Change

The head of the U.N. Children’s Fund, Henrietta Fore will champion the needs of children and young people who are caught up in humanitarian crises or are being left behind because of extreme poverty and lack of development.

U.N. Development Program Administrator, Achim Steiner will seek to raise $100 million from Davos’ wealthy clientele to protect wild animals and their habitats. (VOA)