Reforms agenda on track: FM
Govt determined to bring down the fiscal deficit to 4.8% in 2013-14 in the current fiscalA New Delhi (PTI): Undeterred by adverse political...
Govt determined to bring down the fiscal deficit to 4.8% in 2013-14 in the current fiscalA New Delhi (PTI): Undeterred by adverse political developments, Finance Minister P Chidambaram today said there will be no let up in the government's efforts to continue with the economic reforms and he will go ahead with his meetings with foreign investors to persuade them to invest in India. "I don't see us any weaker today (than) what we were yesterday. Yes, it is true one ally has withdrawn support. The government enjoys a majority, the government will continue to do its duty. The government will continue to take executive action and the government will continue to push legislation in Parliament", he told a press conference. Chidambaram was responding to questions on fate of economic reforms in the aftermath of withdrawal of support to the UPA by the DMK.A The Minister further said that he would meet investors to persuade them to invest in India and also the government will not alter in its commitment to bring down the fiscal deficit to 4.8 per cent in 2013-14 from 5.2 per cent estimated in the current financial year. Chidambaram is scheduled to meet foreign investors in major financial hubs in Japan, UAE, Canada and the United States in the coming weeks.A "We are in government. We have a duty to steer the ship even if there is mild storm in the sea. We have our hands firmly on the wheels. We will continue to push for legislation," he said. Chidambaram said on Tuesday that the Cabinet cleared the Food Security Bill and this morning the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) approved disinvestment of SAIL.A He said the Food Security Bill will be introduced in Parliament and "I am absolutely confident there will be enough support in Parliament to pass the Bill". The government proposes to push through key economic reform Bills in areas such as insurance, pension and corporate law in the Budget Session. A The insurance and pension bills seek to raise foreign direct investment (FDI) cap in the sectors from 26 per cent to 49 per cent and the Food Security Bill seeks to provide subsidised food grain to people below poverty line. Other important economic reforms bills on the agenda include Forward Contracts (Regulation) Amendment Bill and the Companies Bill that is yet to be vetted by the Rajya Sabha. The government has listed 39 Bills for consideration and passage and 20 for introduction. The 115th Constitutional Amendment Bill which will pave way for introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) has not been listed in the agenda for the Budget session. Ficci asks political parties to reconsider Land Bill New Delhi (PTI): Industry body Ficci has asked major political parties, including BJP, SP and BSP, to reconsider the Land Bill saying the proposed legislation in its present form would have serious implications for economic development. "Ficci has reached out to the leaders of major political parties like BJP, SP, BSP etc urging them to reconsider the land Bill, as the Bill in its present form would have serious implications for the economic development in the country," a statement issued by Ficci said. The controversial Land Acquisition Bill was cleared by the Union Cabinet in December last year, making mandatory the consent of 80 per cent of people whose land is taken for private projects. In the case of Public-Private Partnership projects, the bill makes mandatory obtaining of consent of 70 per cent of the people whose land will be for acquired. Expressing industry's concerns with regard to the Bill, Ficci said that the Bill envisages a steep increase in the cost of land acquisition from the existing level. It noted that the cost of acquisition will increase at least five times under the LARR Bill 2011. It is not only the cost but also the administrative burden it entails which will discourage the industry. Moreover, in terms of process, it is going to take not less than five to six years to acquire even a small piece of land if one goes by the current Bill provisions, it said. The bill was finalised by the Rural Development Ministry incorporating the suggestion of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi who had asked the government to take the consent from 80 per cent land owners for purchase of land for the purpose of setting up industries and PPP projects.