Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is in the United States to attend the annual meeting of the IMF and the World Bank, in an exclusive interview with ANI, gave a rundown of his role in the meeting, and said that the countries across the world were lauding India for having the guts to bring in major structural reforms like demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
In the backdrop of upcoming Gujarat Assembly election and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi eyeing to dethrone the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state, the senior BJP leader downplayed the former's aggressive election campaign in the state by emphasising that the BJP has greater chances of winning the assembly polls regardless of the Congress' criticism of the Centre's economic policies.
"The comments made by the experts here in the U.S. and other countries, on India's structural reforms, highlight our country's self-confidence. The economy of various countries was going through recession for past three years and that time India was comparatively in a better state. So, we took advantage of this and introduced various structural reforms including Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, demonetisation and GST. It needs a lot of courage and guts to bring in structural reforms in the economy. What I gather here and what people from all parts of the world are saying is that it is laudable that India has the courage to bring in such structural reforms," Jaitley said.
Jaitley further said he had urged America to change its perspective for H-1B visa holders as they are professionals, who heavily contribute to the U.S. economy.
"People, who come in the U.S. through H-1B visas, are high-value professionals who heavily contribute to the economy of the United States. They are not illegal economic migrants. And that is why the U.S. should treat them with a different and better perspective. We have expressed this concern of ours with America," said Jaitley.
Last month, the U.S. resumed fast processing of H-1B work visas in all categories five months after it was suspended temporarily to handle the huge rush of applications for the work visas - popular among Indian IT professionals.
Further talking about the Indo-U.S. relationship, Jaitley said that the two countries shared a very mature relationship.
"India and the U.S. have a very mature level of relationship and the Prime Minister has had a very good visit here. We are expecting a very large business delegation. I have had interaction with my counterparts, the External Affairs Minister has had discussion with her counterpart and I think it is a strategic relationship which is bound to be further consolidated," Jaitley said.
"The result of the Gujarat elections will tell who people actually support. We contested UP elections post demonetisation and the result is out in the open," Jaitley said, regarding the upcoming assembly polls in the state.
The finance minister also slammed the Congress for criticising the structural reforms introduced by the government and said that the opposition's criticism had no weightage.
"The aim of demonetisation was to crack the backbone of shadow economy, which was running on black money. To curb the menace of black money was never the Congress' priority. So now they are tensed, and it is justified. Talking about the GST, it was the Congress' proposal and now they are trying to change their stand. The finance ministers of all Congress-run states back the GST, but the Congress being an opportunist party is opposing the uniform tax reform. So I think Congress' criticism has no strength," Jaitley said.(ANI)