Ahead of the release of the BJP manifesto before April 5, leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley on Monday outlined his party’s economic priorities, saying that if it comes to power it won’t stop poverty alleviation schemes but link them to asset creation and restore investor confidence in the country.
Addressing foreign correspondents in New Delhi, Jaitley said the BJP’s economic model would generate growth. “It should encourage entrepreneurship. However, considering the large-scale poverty in India, we cannot merely depend on the economic growth to pull people out of poverty. Poverty alleviation schemes are necessary. The schemes, however, have to also be linked to asset creation.”
Responding to questions, Jaitley said the UPA has damaged confidence in the Indian economy. “India is no longer regarded as an investment destination where there is an ease of doing business. Clearing projects takes an unusually long time. Some states have been discriminated against. The Prime Minister never had the last word on clearing these projects.” Therefore, he said, the BJP’s priority would be to generate economic activity so that international and domestic investors feel India is a better place for doing business.
“On Foreign Direct Investment, I categorically stated that the BJP regards FDI as an additionality of resources, which will generate economic activity but our commitment to FDI would be sector-specific,” he said in his blog.
On the BJP’s opposition to FDI in multi-brand retail, Jaitley said, “India is still not prepared for it.”
On retrospective taxation, he said, “The imposition of retrospective taxation during the UPA regime was a defining moment for subverting the investment climate in India. Stability of the tax regime has to be maintained. Retrospective legislation for taxation is permissible only when taxes already collected are to be protected. Taxes which impose fresh liability should not be legislated with retrospective effect.”