Washington: Despite "attempts to derail" the recently introduced Goods and Services Tax (GST), the states are adopting the new regime at a fast pace, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said.
Jaitley was responding to a question on the biggest challenges for GST during a conversation with Dan Schulman, president and CEO of Paypal and Chandrajit Banerjee of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). At the event jointly organised by CII and US India Business Council (USIBC) in New York, Jaitley said global integration of Indian economy is happening at a time when other economies are becoming more protectionist.
Asserting that India is now a better place to do business with because of the series of steps being taken by the government in the last three years, Jaitley said procedures have been simplified. Now as much as 95 per cent of the investments are through automatic route, and foreign investment promotion board has been abolished, he noted.
Today, 99 per cent of tax queries are addressed online, he said. Now States are being ranked on ease of doing business, he told the audience here. India is now capable of taking big decisions and implementing them at a large-scale, the union finance minister said.
As many as 250 highways projects are under construction. India is now having surplus power and capacity of Indian ports have been expanded, he said.
Responding to a question on digital payments, he said the younger generation is taking on to modern payment methods in a big way. Further, all government benefits are linked directly to bank accounts. The government has introduced low cost insurance policies to incentivise the bank holders, he said.
Jaitley who arrived early in the day in New York also addressed US investors on recent economic reform initiatives. He is slated to address the Columbia University students today. The finance minister is here in US to attend the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. But before arriving in Washington DC for the annual IMF and World Bank meetings, he would travel to Boston to address the students of the Harvard University and interact with the US business community in Boston. During his three day stay at Washington, the finance minister will hold a bilateral meeting with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
He will also participate in an interactive seminar organised by FICCI on -- "India Opportunity Conference" and attend the G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' Working Dinner on October 12. — (PTI)