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HindustanTimes Wed,26 Nov 2014

Kidwai: GST can boost GDP growth

Debobrat Ghose, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 19, 2012
First Published: 23:35 IST(19/12/2012) | Last Updated: 23:38 IST(19/12/2012)

The government has done much to assuage investor sentiment in the country by getting the Banking Laws (amendment) Bill and the Companies Bill passed in the Parliament, but it could add as much as two percentage points to the country's growth story if it manages to implement the nationwide Goods and Services Tax (GST), Naina Lal Kidwai, the newly-elected president of industry body FICCI and HSBC's country head, said here on Wednesday.

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"The Banking Laws Bill will give a big push to banking reforms, as we need new banks, including some bigger ones, and more banking activities to go in tandem with the industry. India should have banks among world's top 100," she said.

As the FICCI president, Kidwai hopes to ensure that the GST is implemented on a priority basis.

"We can't take an eye away from this big ticket reform, which will add 1.5-2 percentage points to our growth and would be beneficial for the government, industry and consumer. My only regret is that it hasn't happened yet," she said.

She felt that the proposed umbrella body, the national investment board (NIB), once in place, will be an avenue to clear important projects and help boost economic growth. "GDP will go up from 6.0% to 6.5% by next year due to collective reforms," she said.

With the new Companies Bill in place, she said, FICCI would like to work as a facilitator on important issues such as mining through collective action by bringing the government, industry and civil society on a common platform. "The aim is to build a collective conscience among the three stakeholders and resolve issues on the same table," she added.

Regarding industry lobbying, which has received a lot of flak in recent times especially since foreign direct investment in retail was permitted, the FICCI president said that lobbying is not illegal, provided that some yardsticks are met such as transparency, financial disclosures, moral and intellectual integrity as well as ensuring that bribes are not paid.


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