Free Press Journal

Subsidies to be rationalised, joint session on insurance: FM


Davos: Wooing global investors, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today hinted at rationalising subsidies, rebuilding credibility of taxation structure and calling a joint session of Parliament to get the insurance bill passed if it is not cleared in the coming session.

Laying the fiscal road map ahead of his first full- fledged Budget, he sought to assure investors at the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF) that subsidies will not be completely eliminated but only rationalised to cut expenditure.

Speaking at two back-to-back events on the second day of his arrival here, Jaitley touched a variety of subjects ranging from the challenges facing the government, the need to make it easier to do business in India and to India’s relations with the US and Russia.

“As far as LPG is concerned, the first subsidy reform has started this month. From January 1, all subsidies with regards to cooking gas, now goes directly to bank accounts….

“Next stage, we have to carve out families who are not entitled… Kerosene is used both as fuel and also in dark areas in India. But kerosene is also being misused in many areas. So the next area we intend tackling is kerosene,” he added.

“Elimination of subsidies in India, a country where one-third of people are still living in poverty conditions is not possible, its not even desirable… But we have to rationalise our subsidies,” he said.

He was speaking to investors at a breakfast meeting organised by CII along with Boston Consulting Group and another session devoted to India at the WEF.

Racing against time to convert various Ordinances into law in the Parliament session that will be dominated by financial business, Jaitley expressed confidence that insurance bill will be passed in the Rajya Sabha because Congress is also in favour.

“If it is not approved, we will go for joint session of Parliament. If it is delayed beyond six months, we will go for joint session where we will have majority,” he said.