Jaitley bats for corruption-free governance; reasonable taxes

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The government is following a policy to attract investment and has eased all rules in this regard and promises reasonable taxes and a corruption-free governance, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday.

“India, in the last few months, has been following with renewed vigour a policy of attracting investments into the country… we have eased all the rules as far as investment is concerned,” Jaitley said, addressing the ‘Resurgent Rajasthan Partnership Summit 2015’ here.

The finance minister batted for a “corruption-free governance, non-discretionary allotment of natural resources and reasonable taxation” to attract investment for growth.

Jaitley said it was necessary to ease the systems under which people chose to do business and make sure that “governance becomes completely corruption-free” and where the “scope for discretion is very little”.

The finance minister said various initiatives of the Narendra Modi government led to a “considerable” increase in public investment and foreign direct investment, while the private sector investment was “slowly picking up”.

Jaitley asked the states to take steps to ensure “ease of doing business”, otherwise they would lose out to progressive states which were resorting to reforms for attracting investment.

“There has been a healthy competition among states to attract investment. If they do not provide conducive environment, there is always a choice of migration (for industry),” he said.

Jaitley said banks were under stress due to huge debts of state electricity boards, leading to difficulty in lending to other sectors.

“Banks themselves are under stress, which has led to a situation that banks find it difficult to lend money to other sectors. So, it causes adverse impact on the national economy,” he said.

Praising labour reforms undertaken by the Rajasthan government, he said: “Rajasthan should now endeavour to become a pioneer state in ease of doing business, where land is easily available and sanctions are easily granted.”

Meanwhile, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said the state government had signed memorandums of understanding that entailed investment commitments to the tune of over Rs.3.3 lakh crore and generation of 2.5 lakh jobs.

“As many as 295 MoUs have been signed for proposed investment of over Rs.3.3 lakh crore. It has the potential to generate employment for 2.5 lakh people,” she said while addressing the summit.

Stating that the state was ranked sixth on the World Bank’s ease of doing business criterion, Raje said the state government would focus on various sectors such as solar energy, roads and healthcare to attract investment.

Raje said FDI in regional airlines would give a “huge impetus” to the tourism sector in Rajasthan. “We intend to be the first state to capitalise on this,” she said.

Addressing the summit, Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani said Rajasthan had become a model for others in terms of doing ease of business.

The state had taken a lead in coming out with a solar policy, e-auction of mines and labour reforms, he added.

Ambani said the group had invested around Rs.7,000 crore in sectors like solar, telecom, roads and financial services in the state.

He said Reliance Telecom had six million customers in Rajasthan, and overall the company was providing direct employment to 6,000 and indirectly to another 25,000 people in the desert state.

Ambani also announced the setting up of a 6000-MW solar park in Rajasthan.

The two-day summit aimed to bring together leading investors from across the world to interact with the political leadership, government officials and local business leaders to discuss investment opportunities in Rajasthan.

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