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Committed to non-aggressive tax regime: FM
January, 17th 2015

Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Friday indicated he will initiate further steps to check a flight of investment from the country as he pitched India as "great choice" for investors, domestic and overseas.

In his address at the Airtel and The Economic Times Global Business Summit, Jaitley reiterated government's commitment to a non-aggressive tax regime and assured a hall packed with the country's top CEOs and globally-renowned economists that the government had no intention to use retrospective taxation powers.

"I've been saying unfair and aggressive taxes momentarily will give a false belief that my taxation kitty is going to be very large... None of the controversial cases based on this ultra-aggressive approach have brought a single rupee of revenue. It's only got Indian economy a bad name," the FM said. He acknowledged that despite steps by government, some concerns persist.

READ ALSO: PM Modi vows rapid change, unveils reforms agenda

"We thought a lot of Indian companies stationing their executives and professionals in Singapore, essentially for the more favourable tax climate there, should shift base to India. It hasn't happened in a big way... A group of them (entrepreneurs) met me and mentioned that we've not done enough to shift them back to India. They've given detailed differences, particularly taxation-related, which their businesses enjoy. The issue is under serious examination," he said after Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy flagged it.

Jaitely said despite criticism over ordinances, government will push ahead with critical reforms. "We're committed to this cause that India needs effective decisions and an effective and clear implementation roadmap," he said.

As it happened: ET Global Business Summit

The minister said persuasion hadn't worked with opposition parties so far and indicated that government won't shy away from looking at other constitutional means to press on with legislative business, in what's seen as reference to a joint session of Parliament. He dismissed criticism of the coal and mining ordinances. The idea, he said, was to shiftfrom the obsolete first-come firstserved system to a transparent allocation process.

Jaitely said the RBI's decision to cut key policy rates will boost demand. "This'll leave somewhat more money in consumers' hands. Hopefully, it'll increase spending, make loans cheaper and consumer items,... will see faster growth."

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