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3:16 pm - Monday January 21, 9247

Strengthening of PSBs, infra, housing priority for next year: Jaitley

Agencies, New Delhi

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said that the focus of the government in next year is on strengthening of Public Sector Banks (PSBs), infrastructure and housing to keep the momentum of the economy.

Following the Prime Minister’s speech at the FICCI AGM yesterday, Finance Minister also said that during the UPA government regime banks become unable in lending as a few big and selected people sat on huge loans whereas thousands of SME lacked the resources for their growth.

While speaking at an event organised by FICCI, Finance Minister said that besides the ongoing tasks, completing the unfinished task of strengthening the PSBs is on the table for next year so that banks become able in lending money to tose who could give momentum to the economy.

FM said, “We want to ensure the ability of banks to support growth by improving their lending capacity. If we want to formalise the economy, we have to strengthen the bank. Banks have a lot of money lying with them, but their lending capacity is limited due to lack of capital adequacy.”

Finance Minister Jaitley said that infrastructure and housing are going to be on agenda as well. We will focus on the momentum of infrastructure creation. Infrastructure creation, even the rural infrastructure, is core to India’s future growth story.

On Air India’s disinvestment, he said that government will come up with next steps soon and it will go as per the process. Giving the sector wise details of the progress Finance Minister said, “Progress in Highways and ports have been satisfactory.

Aviation sector has also seen good progress. But Railways needs a lot to be done, especially in infrastructure development, stations, quality of trains, proposed bullet train. All these need to be strengthened.” On reforms, he said that in 1991 the reforms were made as compulsion whereas in 2014, it was a part of conviction.

A lot has changed since then and his government is taking decisions in spite of the facvt that changes are not easy. On taxation, Finance Minister said that the rationalization of taxes can only be done once the tax base increases.

He also said that India is the only country where only 5 per cent direct tax is levied at entry point and only 1 per cent indirect tax apply under GST for a large number of tax payers. Even 35 per cent of people who file returns under GST pay zero tax. On political issues, he said that India is now seeing political stability and people are not worrying on that.

Another good thing is that fighting terrorism has improved a lot as our security forces are doing good job. Thinking of world leaders have also changed on terrorism. Now very few supports it.

Posted in: Featured, Nation

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