New Delhi : Side stepping the bad news about the alleged charges against him in the DDCA affairs, and looking ahead at 2016, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley plans to introduce structural reforms like the GST, rationalisation of direct taxes and further easing the system of doing business. The finance minister looks back with ”great satisfaction” at 2015 over the performance of the Indian economy and dismisses criticisms about the economy not having taken off as “cynicism — a way of life in India”. He said: “Cynicism is a way of life in India. You can question any other data but you cannot question the actual rise of revenue and the actual rise of revenue is showing that the economy is doing better. The revenue collections do not go up without the economy taking off”. Asked whether the Indian industry was also prone to such cynicism, Jaitley said: “Well, I think a section of the Indian industry has overstretched itself and those who have overstretched themselves see this as a universal problem.”
His moves to get the GST past Parliament have been mired in partisan politics and given the way proceedings are held hostage to unpredictable events it looks difficult for him to get the law approved in the next budget session. However this does not temper his enthusiasm about the economy and for him India has been the bright spot with growth prospects of 7-7.5% despite global slowdown and adversities. For him the growth rate which is “quite good” would improve further in the months to come. According to Jaitley India has responded well to the challenge posed by the slowdown in global economy but there are areas (in which) we have to respond faster. “After having introducing the structural reforms, I would like to concentrate essentially on three things — more money for physical infrastructure, more money on social infrastructure and, lastly, more money on irrigation because that is a neglected sector,” said the finance minister.