Jaitley said that a young population was impatient for results and that the country was running out of time.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that India must grow at a faster pace, adding that the public supported the reform initiatives, such as GST, despite the difficulties related to the reforms.
Jaitley was addressing the Berekeley India Conference via video call when he said,”The obvious challenge to the country is to grow and grow fast. It has to grow at a much higher rate than we have been growing in recent history.” The FM will be in the US this week to attend the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank. He added that a young, aspirational population wants change and reforms quickly and is impatient to see the results.
”Time therefore is running against us,” Jaitley said.
Growth in the Indian economy, during the April-June quarter fell to 5.7 per cent, clocking the lowest GDP growth rate under the Narendra Modi government. The Finance Minister said that GST has resulted in creation of a national tax structure. Acknowledging issues related to compliance, Jaitley said the GST Council had noted these challenges and is taking steps to address them.
On the demonetisation drive, he said the Indian normal was to live with a high-cash economy and not pay taxes. ”How can a country, which aims to be the fastest growing major economy in the world, which aspires to grow from a developing to a developed economy, continue with the normal of this type,” he asked.
He said that demonetisation had led to a sharp drop in insurgent and terror activities in states like Jammu and Kashmir and Chhattisgarh. ”You are having terrorist incidents, but the fact that you were finding 5,000-10,000 stone throwers being provided with money by the terrorist organisations, why is it that in the last eight-ten months it has not happened?” he asked.