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GST high priority; will contain fiscal deficit: Arun Jaitley

Hong Kong: Implementation of GST is very high on the priority list of the government, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said while expressing commitment to continuing reforms and containing fiscal deficit.The government is committed to
PTI September 20, 2015 22:17 IST
PTI

Hong Kong: Implementation of GST is very high on the priority list of the government, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said while expressing commitment to continuing reforms and containing fiscal deficit.

The government is committed to meeting fiscal deficit target and continuing on the path of economic reforms, he said during his meeting with major foreign institutional investors and companies here.

For 2015-16, the government aims to restrict fiscal deficit to Rs 5.55 lakh crore, or 3.9 per cent of GDP.

He said implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) is very high on the government's priority list.

However, the Narendra Modi-led NDA government could not get the Constitution Amendment Bill on GST passed in Parliament during the monsoon session due to stiff opposition.

The Bill has been passed in the Lok Sabha, but is yet to be approved by the Rajya Sabha where the ruling BJP does not enjoy a majority of its own.

The government had set a deadline of April 1, 2016 for the implementation of GST, which seems unlikely.

GST, a comprehensive indirect tax reform that will subsume excise and service tax and other local levies, has been hanging fire since 2006-07.

During the meeting, the issues relating to development of corporate bond market, currency derivatives market and further liberalisation of the external commercial borrowing policy, including rupee-denominated offshore bonds, were raised by the investors.

Later, the Finance Minister addressed a luncheon meeting organised by Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and FICCI, where he emphasised on the increasing trade and investment relationship between India and China and the important role being played by Hong Kong in this regard.

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China had been a significant contributor to the global growth in the past decade.

Jaitley said India would look forward to enhancing its engagement with China and Hong Kong SAR in economic investment and trade areas, an official statement read.

Seeking investment in the development of 100 smart cities, he said there is a large potential for Hong Kong services sector companies in collaboration with Indian firms.

Margaret Fong, Executive Director, HKTDC, spoke about the greater bilateral trade between the two countries, saying Hong Kong is a major gateway for Indian exports to China.

Members of HKTDC raised issues relating to their participation in metro rail projects in India, power sector investments from China and supply of architectural and consultancy services from Hong Kong to India.

At another event, Jaitley addressed the Indian community in Hong Kong and highlighted that India is moving in the right direction to realise its true potential and due place in the world.

On the second day of his official visit to Hong Kong tomorrow, the Finance Minister will hold a breakfast meeting with the investors.

Later, he will deliver a keynote address at the India Capital Markets and Institutional Investors Summit and will have an interactive session with participants. In the afternoon, he will call on C Y Leung, Chief Executive of HKSAR.