The government is expected to implement a common Goods and Services Tax (GST) across the country in the course of next year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday.
Addressing the Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2015, Jaitley said, "I see the economy growing much faster in months to come. In order to attract investment, direction must be clear, pace of moving in that direction must be reasonably quick."
Taking on those who criticised the governments decision to take the ordinance route in Parliament, Jaitley said, "Should we have waited till the Opposition let Rajya Sabha function? Policy decisions cannot wait for 10 years to be taken."
"Government must always be led by a leader of stature. PM must be decisive, willing to face consequences of his decisions," Jaitley added.
Government priorities, he said, would be to spend more on infrastructure, incentivise expenditure in manufacturing to help boost growth and create more jobs.
Jaitley presented the GST bill to parliament in December, which needs the support of two-thirds of its members as well as ratification by state legislatures.
Investors and manufacturers have long coveted the GST as a game-changer that would simplify taxes while broadening the tax base, adding as much as 2 percentage points to the size of Asias third-largest economy.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India is getting ready to take a "quantum leap", elevating the Vibrant Gujarat Summit he founded as chief minister in 2003 into a platform to hardsell India as the next big opportunity to statesmen such as US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and industry bosses from across the globe.
"We will be available to hold your hands whenever you need us. You will find us standing with you in your journey ," Modi said at the inauguration on Sunday . The audience included the cream of India Inc such as Mukesh Ambani and brother Anil, Gautam Adani, Shashi Ruia and other business leaders who have built empires in Gujarat.
Modi assured the huge gathering an enabling and constantly improving policy framework and spoke of his nine-month-old governments reforms vision."My govern ment is committed to create a policy environment that is predictable, transparent and fair," adding that it was working to ensure faster and more inclusive growth.
He spoke about a "level playing field" to make India a manufacturing hub, adding that the government has put the focus on building infrastructure through public and private investments. He lingered on the Mars orbiter mission, and compared its frugal cost to that of the recent Hollywood blockbuster Interstellar.
Vibrant Gujarat, which had been conceived by Modi as a means of drumming up investment in the state, also became the stage on which he recast himself as a progressive, business-friendly leader.
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