Jaitley was speaking at the ET Awards function along with Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley lambasted the Congress party stating that stalling of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in Parliament “is giving some people sadistic pleasure”.
“Some of us had met senior leaders of the congress. Privately everybody says we must support (the bill). Some of the issues which are being raised (by Congress) are clearly an afterthought,” Jaitley said at the Economic Times Award function here.
“It’s obvious that not allowing the GST Bill to be passed is giving some people sadistic pleasure. Then democracy has its own strength and the last laugh is always the best one,” he said.
Jaitley hinted that the government would take the help of regional parties for passing the GST Bill.
“When Mining Bill came up who came to rescue of the bill to get it passed in the Rajya Sabha? Regional parties said as the revenue is going to come to our state and therefore we have a vested interest in passing the bill. Earlier they were not getting anything now they are getting something. So all of them jumped in. The obstructionists of the bill were isolated and the bill was passed,” he said.
Jaitley said now “almost every regional party is making more noise than us”. “It includes parties like JD (U), NCP, Biju Janata Dal and RJD. States which are lesser developing say since we are a consuming state we have a vested interest in getting GST Bill passed. Once it’s passed its going to be passed with the strength of each regional group,” the finance minister said.
On the priorities before the government, he said the most important steps included rationalization of direct and indirect taxation and rectifying the health of the banking system.
Jaitley said the country will grow at 7-7.5 per cent and adding an extra 1-1.5 per cent growth to “get that cutting edge” would depend on several factors like monsoon and global growth. “I think the world is not going to be helpful in most areas. There is going to be crisis thrown up by economies somewhere in the world.
“The last one week you saw the Chinese currency and oil prices both converging at the same and therefore creating an upheaval across the world and therefore what is our own ability to sustain this,” Jaitley said.
“It’s an extremely challenging year. Our exports are down. That partly offset the advantage we have because of the lower oil and commodity prices,” he said. The finance minister added that said states are competing for new investments.