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India Inc to government: Focus on GST, ease of doing biz

By Subhayan Chakraborty
Last updated on: May 24, 2016 08:57 IST
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GST

 

Urges Centre to build consensus to ensure GST Bill is passed in Parliament

Building political consensus for the goods and services tax Bill and sustaining the momentum on the ease of doing business should be the government’s focus in its third year in office, industry leaders said on Monday as the Narendra Modi government nears its second anniversary on May 26.

Implementation of GST is expected to increase the gross domestic product of the country by about 1.5 per cent.

Industry leaders had complained on numerous occasions in the past on the hold-up in passing the GST Bill in Parliament, which they have blamed on politicking between the ruling party and the principal opposition party, the Congress, which wants the GST rate to be a part of the constitutional amendment.

Foreign investors, too, have stated concern over the fate of the GST Bill.

Minister of state for Finance, Jayant Sinha, however, had recently said the GST bill would be passed in the upcoming Monsoon session of Parliament.

However, the government’s focus on ease of doing business and incentivising new entrepreneurship apart from its focus on the new economy of start-ups got support from industry.

“We are optimistic that India’s ease of doing business ranking can be among the top 50 within the next two years,” said Chandrajit Banerjee, director-general of Confederation of Indian Industry.

India ranks 130 out of 189 countries in ease of doing business, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2016.

Industry was also hopeful about the general condition of the Indian economy.

“Indian economy has improved and is more stable than it was two years ago.

"This reflects sound and strategic macroeconomic management to tackle inflation, keep the fiscal deficit on the target path, and curb volatility,” said CII President Naushad Forbes.

On the international front, the government’s foreign policy agenda has been in tune with economic requirements, said Harshavardhan Neotia, president of Ficci.

A slump in global commodity prices, coupled with a slowdown in China and slow economic revival in developed economies have resulted in Indian exports going down for the 17th straight month in April.

The government’s rural and infrastructure focus in particular was also commended by industry. Economists have pinned their hope of fast economic revival on the back of increasing rural demand.

The commitment to double farm income in five years has been highlighted  in this regard.

Rajiv Memani, country managing partner, EY, said the finance ministry has in the past two years taken several measures to simplify and rationalise the tax regime and improve the dispute resolution mechanisms.

THE PROMISES

  • Implementation of GST is expected to increase GDP growth by 1.5%
  • Industry leaders laud government’s focus on ease of doing business and incentivising new entrepreneurship
  • Centre’s foreign policy initiatives get the thumbs up
  • Industry lauds the rural and infrastructure focus, especially the commitment to double farm income in 5 years
  • Simplification of tax regime a positive
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Subhayan Chakraborty in New Delhi
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