India has potential to be  a cleaner economy: FM

Washington : Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that India is capable of becoming a much cleaner and bigger economy amongst the other emerging economies, as it is capable of taking and implementing bold decisions. “Amongst the emerging economies, India today has the potential for not only being a large market but being a much cleaner economy,” said Arun Jaitley at a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and US India Business Council (USIBC) at an event in New York.

 Jaitley, who is on a week-long visit to the US along with delegation from the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICII) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) will attend annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. He is likely to hold discussions on national development programs initiated over the last three years, state of Indian economy, and recent structural changes relating to GST and demonetisation.

 “No government in the past actually had the courage to make it a part of its political and economic agenda,” said Jaitley on the recent cash reforms which have integrated an informal Indian economy into a formal one. Hailing the recent structural reforms by the Centre, Jaitley said that  “All the steps including financial inclusion, demonetisation, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to the direct tax incentive, each one of this falls into place where brick by brick you lay down the structure in order to integrate an informal economy into a much larger formal economy.”

 Defending the government’s decision to maintain secrecy over demonetisation, Jaitley said transparency in this case would have been the “greatest instrument of fraud”.

He also said that announcing the demonetisation initiative in advance could have resulted in people buying gold, diamond and land and going through various kinds of transactions with the cash they had. “Transparency is a very nice word. But transparency in this case (of demonetisation) would have been the greatest instrument of fraud,” Jaitley said.

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