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2-3 legacy tax cases to be put to sleep in couple of months: Arun Jaitley

Singapore:  Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said only about 2-3 legacy tax issues are left which he hoped will be "put to sleep" over the next couple of months."The entire emphasis on the taxation
PTI September 19, 2015 0:02 IST

Singapore:  Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said only about 2-3 legacy tax issues are left which he hoped will be "put to sleep" over the next couple of months.

"The entire emphasis on the taxation system in India is now completely changed. The government announced that it won't have a retrospective tax system, we have lived up to our word.

There were several legacy issues which we had from a very aggressive taxation attitude, one by one we have been putting each one of them to sleep.

"Some we are rectifying them through the judicial process, some by executive decision of the government. Only about 2-3 issues are left. Over the next couple of months, I am reasonably certain that they will be also resolved out," Jaitley said at The Singapore Summit 2015 here.

Asserting that 6-8% GDP growth rate is not enough, he said India is keen to push it to 10% on back of continued reforms.

The Minister, who is here on a two-day visit to woo investors, expressed the hope that India's growth rate in the current fiscal would be better than last year and the country would "stand out as a brighter spot" in the world economy.

The Minister said "certain amount of restlessness (about growth) is a good sign ... None of us were happy that we were only growing by 7% (in first quarter). If that's the measures of aspirational India, the pressure on government is quite a legitimate thing".

Observing 6-8% growth is not enough, he said the government is taking steps to push it to 8-10%.

"Government has moved fairly rapidly. The government's direction is absolutely clear but for people to keep putting pressure on us to move even more rapidly I think is a legitimate answer," Jaitley added.

Referring to the taxation reforms, he said the entire system has completely changed and the government has been able to address most of the legacy issues.

The previous government, he said, was too aggressive therefore the stability and consistency which is expected out of a tax regime wasn't there.

"The last government had committed a major mistake in enacting a tax law retrospectively and that spoiled the investment environment," Jaitley said.

Regretting that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill could not be passed in the Monsoon session of Parliament because of stiff resistance from one political party, he said "that can't be an indefinite process. I am reasonably optimistic that we should be able to arrive at some consensus as far as this is concerned".

With regard to corporate tax, he said the process of rationalisation is on and the government is committed to lower it to 25 per cent in four years from 30 per cent at present.

Answering questions on labour laws, he said that the issue is being over-stated and added that several changes have been brought about by the centre and state governments.

"An area which nobody had traditionally touched till today, there is a process of change in reform which has started," Jaitley said.

On the slowdown in China, Finance Minister said it will not have any adverse impact on India as the country is not part of the China's production chain.

For a nation which is 80 per cent dependent on imports to meet its oil demand, a slump in international oil prices will benefit India and resources saved in form of cut in subsidy

will be diverted to other pressing sectors like building infrastructure.