'Bihar drubbing not to impact reforms'

'Bihar drubbing not to impact reforms'

'Bihar drubbing not to impact reforms'
Dismissing apprehensions that BJP’s defeat in Bihar will be a setback to economy, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said that the reforms programme will continue and that the government will go ahead with the process of enacting Goods and Services Tax (GST) law.

“I don’t see it as a setback to the economy... structural reforms will continue. They should continue at a rapid pace,” the minister said in television interviews.

He said the government will continue reforms by taking executive actions and also in the budget, which will be announced in February next year.

To a question on the pending GST bill, he hoped that Bihar would support the legislation because as a consuming state it would benefit from the new indirect tax legislation. “Bihar and JD (U) had supported the bill in the Lower House,” he said.

On whether he would talk to Nitish Kumar on support for GST, he said: “I don’t see any reason why, just because he is in alliance with the Congress at the moment, he will change his position. If he changes his position, then I will have to explain this and I am quite certain, as a responsible leader, that will not happen.”

The government had planned to roll out the GST from April 1, 2016, but the Constitution Amendment Bill is stuck in the Rajya Sabha where the ruling NDA does not have a majority.

Stating that the GST rollout is a “matter of time”, Jaitley said the “obstructionist” position of the Congress will not continue for long as the country’s mood is reform-oriented. The government, he added, was open to suggestions to improve the architecture of the GST. On what should be the rate of GST, Jaitley said: “The lower the better.”

Asked about Moody’s Analytics report which said Prime Minister Narendra Modi must keep BJP members in check or risk “losing domestic and global credibility”, he said the commentary by the “young analyst” is incorrect. “India is the most tolerant society in the world... and I will reject any contention which says that a stray incident happening in any part of India makes it intolerant. Some unfortunate incidents take place, that doesn’t make India an intolerant society. India is a liberal society, it will continue to remain one,” the minister said.

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