Delhi verdict will not stall reforms: Jaitley

Says they are key to expanding anti-poverty programmes

February 12, 2015 03:43 pm | Updated November 16, 2021 07:10 pm IST - New Delhi

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said here on Thursday that the defeat of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Delhi elections would not stall the Union government’s economic reforms, but said efforts would be made to expand poverty alleviation programmes and social schemes.

“I think the government is determined to go ahead on the path of economic reforms. It is only this that will give strength to the Indian economy to be in a position even to expand a large number of poverty alleviation programmes and social schemes,” Mr. Jaitley said at a joint press conference with U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew following the fifth annual U.S.-India Economic and Financial Partnership.

“And therefore, the fact that four elections have been won, and one has not been won, is absolutely no ground for believing that there would be any slowdown on the path that we have undertaken,” he said.

Mr. Jaitley was responding to a question on the impact of the result of the Delhi Assembly elections in which the BJP won only three seats. Union Fertilizer Minister Ananth Kumar confirmed to The Hindu on Wednesday that the administered price control for urea would stay. Mr. Jaitley has put on hold the November 2014 order for a key reform withdrawing kerosene from the public distribution system for all but un-electrified households.

U.S. Treasury Secretary calls for additional reforms

Noting that the Union government had made headway on reforms that would facilitate foreign investment in India’s infrastructure sector, Mr. Lew on Thursday called for additional reforms.

“Still additional reforms are necessary, and an increase in public investment combined with a more open investment climate and a deeper financial sector, would help attract private infrastructure investment,” Mr. Lew said.

Mr. Jaitley said there was a discussion on India becoming a part of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act which would lead to an automatic exchange of information between the two countries. “India had its challenges in the past few years from which we have seemed to emerge and now are in a position to take off at a much faster pace,” he said.

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