GST will boost Indian economy by 1.5%, says Nirmala Sitaraman

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India is likely to achieve 8% GDP by the fiscal end, thanks to the boost given by initiatives such as Make in India, Union minister of state for commerce and industry Nirmala Sitaraman has said. “With Jan Dhan scheme, Aadhaar, better mobile connectivity and direct benefits transfer, India is on a fast growth track,“she said.

The minister talked of cab aggregator Uber’s initiative ‘Uber-Pitch’ which allows startups to pitch their ideas to venture capitalists (VC) and investors. “We are open to tying up with more technology platforms for good ideas to emerge. When it comes to startups we want to talk facilitation more than regulation,” said Sitaraman, at a lecture organised by the Chennai International Centre in the city on Saturday.

On the industry’s demand to levy extra duty on cheap Chinese imports, the minister said that cheaper import of raw materials has made it possible for many small and medium enterprises to flourish, in turn creating jobs.

“Outright ban on imports in rubber, steel, copper, pepper and other commodities is not possible. We might look at putting protectionist policies in place, but within a timeframe. The industry has to be resilient from within. I do understand the concerns of large manufacturers, who fear the flood of cheap imports eating into their profit margins,” said the minister.

On the rubber industry in south India, the minister said, “We have to be realistic. India does not produce enough rubber to meet its own requirements.”

Hailing the Goods and Service Tax Bill, she said digitisation of all records will be one of the main drivers of GST. “Once GST comes into being, the Indian economy will be boosted by 1.5%”

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