CHENNAI: Parrying a stream of requests, complaints and items off the wishlist of some of India's biggest captains of industry, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said with a heightened degree of confidence, "The last decade was one of missed opportunities. But over the last 8-9 months, we have restored faith in the Indian economy." Jaitley spoke at an interactive session organised by CII, that saw the participation of TVS chief Venu Srinivasan, Apollo Hospitals' Chairman Prathap C Reddy and India Cements' boss N Srinivasan, on Monday.
Explaining why restructuring the fractured economy had taken them this long, Jaitley said, "India's taxation structure was adversarial and it scared investors away. People do not like to invest in a country where there is a hidden cost of corruption." A failing of the UPA-I and II regimes as a whole, he still showed an ounce of sympathy for former PM Manmohan Singh, "I have heard that the former Prime Minister was in favour of passing legislation to that effect, but certain people in the government didn't let it happen," he added.
With key bills like the ones relating to land acquisition and Goods and Service Tax on the anvil, Jaitley appealed to members of the parliamentary houses to look at the larger picture, "If every legislation passed by the Lok Sabha is questioned by the Rajya Sabha, then governance becomes difficult. We need to have a unified vision for the country, where state governments and the centre look beyond ideological difference for common good," he said.
Jaitley, who holds the key portfolios of Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information and Broadcasting, took several suggestions from the gathered industrialists, asking them to submit them in a written form for pre-budget consideration, "Obviously, we cannot discuss what is going to be in the Union Budget at this time, but these suggestions will be considered very seriously." Responding to Dr Prathap Reddy's long standing appeal for allowing Public Private Participation (PPP) into the healthcare industry, he asked for these suggestions to be submitted sans fail. He did add later that the financial allocation for sectors like education and health "would obviously be looking at an increase," in the budget for 2015-16.