FM promises investors ‘fairest, predictable’ tax regime

New Delhi :Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today assured global investors of the “fairest and predictable taxation regime” as he invited them to invest in various sectors, including infrastructure, manufacturing and defence.

He was optimistic that Indo-US bilateral trade will surge five times to USD 500 billion in the next few years on the back of growing cooperation between both the nations.

Jaitley was speaking at the 11th Indo-US Economic Summit, which was organised ahead of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second visit to the US later this month. US Ambassador to India Richard Verma was also present.

India’s fundamentals are sound even amid the global turmoil, Jaitley said, adding that the government has been working on strengthening real economy by focusing on quick decision making, stable policy regime, predictable taxation system and improving on ease of doing business. “The last two are work in progress,” the minister said.

Elaborating on taxation, he said, the government has tried to resolve the legacy issue by governmental decisions, legislation or even by accepting judicial mandate.

The government has tried to “put each one of these (taxation) issues to rest so that from the regime, which had earned an adverse reputation… we can evolve into fairest and predictable taxation regime in India”.

He was confident that these initiative will make India an attractive investment destination for global investors.

“I am quite certain the more India moves in that direction … (we) will have an economy which is growing much faster than world… It will provide the kind of growth rate which will help eliminate poverty in India,” he said.

On the growing Indo-US ties, he said, “Our ambitions are extremely high. Both US President and the Prime Minister have now set an ambitious goal of bilateral trade to increase it by 5 times from USD 100 billion to USD 500 billion over the next few years. And this is defying a situation where the world itself is passing through a turmoil.”

”It is extremely important that we utilise the current opportunities in strengthening parameters of real economy… there is no reason why we should not be able to do that,” he added.

He said global adversities in terms of low oil and commodities prices are working in favour of India because it has reduced the import bill of the country.

“Today globally, it’s in oil, it’s in commodities that the world market is adversely impacted and this adverse impact is not going to be adverse on India. It will be favourable to India because we are net importers of these commodities. Therefore, the low price regime does not necessarily hurt us,” he said.

“It helps us in saving a large part of resources and diverting a big part of the resources in the area where we have to divert… Therefore, the emphasis has been to use the present global and fiscal situation that allows us to divert a large part of our national resources to infrastructure, highways, railway and irrigation. These sectors are where we are making an emphasis,” he said.

On investment opportunities in India, Jaitley said:

“There is a lot of space in the infrastructure sector… like roads, ports, railways and clean energy.”

Besides, he said, there is an opportunity in defence and manufacturing.

Referring to the ongoing global financial turmoil in stock, currency and commodity markets, the minister said it has made the task of policymakers difficult and “there is not an easy moment or easy day”.

Verma, in his address, said the forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the US has created a lot of excitement in California. He will be the second Indian Prime Minister to visit California after Jawaharlal Nehru.

He said the visit of Modi would be instrumental in taking bilateral ties between India and US to a new level.