New Delhi–Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said that India needs to see if the target of becoming a developed country can be achieved by 2030, having missed keeping former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s target of 2020.
“We have missed the bus for Kalam’s vision of making India a developed country by 2020. The date needs to be pushed further,” he said during the first Memorial Lecture on Kalam.
“Instead of 2020, if we push it to 2030, India has to follow a roadmap. It will need all investments from private sector and on the global sphere as well, larger resources and push from the banking sector,” he said.
The government will always do investment, but investment from private sector will come only if India becomes the best place to invest, he said.
“For that India needs an easy business environment and needs to get rid of corruption.
“We may have opened up foreign direct investment, but in the land and construction requirement, India still ranks 183 out of 190 nations,” Jaitley said, adding: “This change needs to come at the state level else adverse environment is created which leads to loss in revenue.”
On the taxation front, he said the indirect taxes have to be best in comparison to the world.
Hinting towards Goods and Services Tax (GST) coming in soon, he said: “The whole idea of one nation, one tax gives ease and freedom from any form of corruption.”
Noting India has made progress towards infrastructure expenditure and has highways comparable to the best in the world, he also stressed that it should also move towards being a pensioned society.
“All developed countries of the world have pension and insurance. Something India is still finding it hard to accept. Some of the recommendations in my last budget for 7th Pay Commission… I found employees didn’t like the idea of insurances and pension.
“The hallmark of a developed society is that it must become a pensioned society and insurance-secured society. You must be secured in your old age by what you have invested during your earning career, that is extremely important,” Jaitley said.
The government has also launched financial inclusion scheme, where every Indian family has to be get a bank account, and the Mudra scheme, where people who are not able to get jobs can turn entrepreneurs, so that skills can be developed, he added.
The finance minister said that the government will fulfil targets of electrification of every village by 2018 and giving road connectivity to every village by 2019, but said India also needs a network of educational institutes to move towards a developed society.
He said that Kalam had realized that India being an over-populated country needs to convert its human resource into an educated resource to achieve the aim of being a developed country.
“If India has to achieve the target by 2030, we have to avoid policy diversions from the agenda of development. Matters of region, religion, caste, etc. can deflect the development agenda. We need a closure on these diversions,” he added.