New Delhi: Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday kept up suspense on whether controversial land acquisition ordinance will be repromulgated, saying a decision will be taken in the next 48 hours.
"Wait for next 48 hours (for a decision on land ordinance)," he said, when asked whether the government has take a decision with regard to repromulgate the ordinance which lapses on August 31.
The land acquisition ordinance, which sought to make land acquisition for industrial projects easier, generated lot of political controversy and was promulgated for three times. It will expire on August 31.
The government yesterday issued a statutory order on Land Bill in lieu of re-promulgation of land ordinance. The order will ensure compensation for land acquired under 13 Acts and will safeguard the rehabilitation of land owners.
Replying to a host of questions at a function, Jaitley made a case for lowering interest rates saying it was essential to raise the growth rate to 8-10%.
"If we have to jump to 8% plus or 8-10% growth bracket than all the stalled projects (have to be revived) and cost of capital have to go down," Jaitley said.
Although Reserve Bank reduced the benchmark interest rate by 0.75% in three tranches since January, it maintained the status quo at its policy action earlier this month despite pressure from industry and finance ministry. The next monetary policy is due on September 29.
The government, he said, was working on the process of ease of doing business, bringing in bankruptcy law, rationalizing taxation and introducing proper public procurement policy.
These are couple of areas on which work is in advanced stage, Jaitley said.
Jaitley said that the Government and the Reserve Bank were "on the same page" on the proposal of setting up a monetary policy committee (MPC) and added that the structure will be disclosed in Parliament.
On the constitution amendment bill to roll out Goods and Services Tax (GST), the Minister said that the discussions were underway with the opposition parties for a special session of Parliament to pass the legislation.
He further said that the objections raised by Congress were "unsustainable" and regretted that the important legislations were being installed by the indirectly elected house Rajya Sabha, where the ruling NDA does not enjoy majority.
"Stalemates will cost India heavily," he said, adding the government has been trying to rationalise the tax structure to make India an attractive place of investment.
India needed to seize the opportunity following slowdown in China and become "world beaters," he said, adding the government has taken various initiatives including the recent one in the banking sector and was stepping up public spending to boost growth.
The government, he further said, has increased the duty on steel twice in a bid to help the domestic producers.
Jaitley also expressed the optimism that agriculture growth, which has a significant bearing on the GDP, will "be better than last year."
On the declining value of rupee, Jaitley said that it musty find its own value as "interference will not help the economy in the long run."
The rupee has declined significantly in the aftermath of the turmoil generated by devaluation of yuan and was traded at below Rs 66 to a dollar.
Elaborating on the need to make Land Act more realistic, Jaitley said that "2013 Land Law is probably the worst drafted legislation in Indian legislative history. I have been able to shortlist 45 drafting errors in it and once this dust settles down on what happens 48 hours from now, I can go into details of the kind of confusion in that law that exists."
The law, he said, has confusing provisions with regard to compensation and consent clauses and needed a "serious look."
"I am using the word confused because the more I read the law, the more its ambiguity surfaces as to what consent is required and what consent is not required. Probably the draft persons themselves do not know," he added.
Referring to the clause for usage of land within a period of five years from the date of acquisition, he said, "it was not possible to develop 100 smart cities in five years."
He further said that many Chief Ministers at the meeting of Niti Aayog called by Prime Minster Narendra Modi had objected to the provisions of the land bill and some have expressed the desire to come up with their own bills which the Centre would approve.
He further said that Tamil Nadu has come up with its own land bill and many other states were likely to follow suit.