Making taxation more reasonable and improving ease of doing business will be among his top priorities going ahead, finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Sunday, outlining the economic roadmap of the Modi government for its second year.
The government will also strive to eliminate discretions and maintain the speed of reforms, Jaitley added.
The finance minister also dismissed any perception that nothing has moved on the ground on the policy front in reviving the economy, and said such a view was confined only to a section of critics. Reports complaining about the economy not having taken off were “inspired news items referring to a dozen people without naming a single”, he said.
On taxation, Jaitley said, the effort would be to make it “more reasonable”.
The government, which came to power in May last year, plans to roll out a common goods and services tax (GST) by April 1, 2015, and bring down corporate tax rate to 25% from 30% over a period of four years.
The government also intends to eliminate the exemptions while reducing the rate of corporate tax, though these would be retained for the individual taxpayers, Jaitley said. “I would keep exemptions but keep that for individual tax payers and in the last two years I have strengthened the kind of exemption.”
Speaking about the challenges before the government, he said: “One, there is a huge road map on how to ease your doing business here...I would say (that) is work in progress”.
To help boost private investments and improve execution of projects, the effort would be to replace the practice of giving permissions and push pending legislations such as GST and land acquisition bill, Jaitley said. Positive signs on macro economic front were there and growth rates were going to pick up, he added.