AMN / NEW DELHI
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said that structural reforms taken by the government may pose momentary difficulty initially but in the long run, will bring huge dividends to the country.
Replying to a discussion in the Lok Sabha on Union Budget-2018-19, Mr Jaitley said, in the last four years, the government has completely followed the path of fiscal prudence and will do so in the future as well.
He said, India was adversely affected post global economy slowdown but in the current regime, the country is being rated as the fastest growing economy.
He said the government remains committed to fiscal prudence and demonstrated it by bringing down fiscal deficit from 3.9 per cent.
He said, the Narendra Modi government has brought inflation under control as there were high inflationary rates under the UPA regime.
Mr Jaitley questioned the Congress whether it took any measures to tackle the challenges faced by the Indian economy.
He wanted the party to introspect how it created problems in agriculture and jobs. He also rejected the Opposition allegation that GST has been implemented in haste.
He said, within a matter of months, the government managed to stabilise the impact of GST. Opposing the capping of GST rate at 18 percent, Mr Jaitley said an equal tax rate could not be levied on items which were luxuries and those which were essentials.
The Finance Minister said, the UPA government had brought the Aadhaar without the support of law and it was silent on all privacy requirements, but the NDA government put in a full chapter on privacy in it.
Mr Jaitley said, he personally believes that privacy is a fundamental right.
The Finance Minister also said that in this year’s budget, the government has taken care of middle classes and the total cost of relief given to salaried class is Rs. 8000 crore.
On the demand for a special package to Andhra Pradesh, Mr Jaitley said, the government has, so far given funds for a large number of institutions created.
He said, funds will continue to be given to all the institutions mentioned in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act.
He also said that steps have been taken to create Capital in Andhra Pradesh and money is being provided.
Mr Jaitley assured the members of TDP and YSR Congress party that the government has full sympathy with Andhra Pradesh and will look into all the issues.
He also said, some decision on a special package and revenue deficit will be worked out in the next couple of days.