Next govt will have to re-develop confidence in economy: Jaitley
Varanasi: BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said the main challenge before the next government will be to work for re-developing the confidence in the economy and expedite decision making.
"In order to regain that confidence, we will need to expedite all decision making process and a new mechanism would need to be put in place for speedy grant of approvals at state and central levels," he told a select group of reporters here.
Talking about BJP`s economic agenda in case it is voted to power, Jaitley said, "We will need to have an investor- friendly approach. The ease of doing business would need to be improved significantly."
The fiscal policy, he said, needs to be better and the first priority should be to address areas that are like low-hanging fruits, such as infrastructure, real estate, urbanisation, rural housing, tourism and skill development.
"Another area, which might not be a low-hanging fruit, but needs to be addressed immediately is to give a push to low-cost manufacturing. But, first we need to target the easy to achieve objectives," he said.
Jaitley said that the UPA government created a Cabinet Committee for Investments to give a push to the decision making process, but the objectives were not met as there was no mechanism to involve states.
The senior BJP leader also said that the UPA government had a major weakness as all its "three" power centres were "very introvert".
"While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was genuinely introvert, Rahul Gandhi always looked down upon others and Sonia Gandhi had no major role to play," he said.
"What we need is simultaneous participation of states in decision making process, rather than having a ping-pong like situation between states and the central government," he said, citing issues related to Orissa projects and "hurdles" by the environment ministry in various projects.
"There have clearly a lack of coordination between states and the Centre. The states would need to be told that it would for their benefits if investments take place in their areas and they would certainly not go against the development," he said.
"Except for a state adopting totally partisan approach, which we cannot help, no one will say no to any development in their area," Jaitley said.
He claimed, "BJP in this election will get highest-ever numbers in its history. We will get a comfortable majority with our NDA alliance partners and as of now we are looking at very close to 300-mark."
Asked about Narendra Modi`s remarks that there might be a big churning in Congress after Lok Sabha polls, Jaitley said that might be the case, but the tendency in the Congress party has always been to crowd around the Gandhi family.
On Gandhi siblings, he said that Priyanka has certainly charmed the media much more than her brother and she has pushed Rahul out of the frame.
He, however, declined to comment on possible visits by them to Varanasi, saying every party and every leader had the right to campaign wherever they wanted to.
On a Commerce and Industry Ministry sponsored report showcasing the Gujarat model of land acquisition as the best practice as against claims by Congress leaders, Jaitley said that the "truth has accidentally slipped out and the mask came out somehow".
He also claimed that Commerce Minister Anand Sharma may be in trouble as he had "no idea" about what was happening in his ministry.
Talking about the personal attacks taking place in during electioneering, Jaitley said that the situation was not so bad and such comments were only a few during the course of long speeches.
On reports about huge election expenses incurred by all parties including BJP, he said that these figures were highly exaggerated and the poll costs never go into the vicinity of thousands of crore of rupees as was being reported.
To a question on immigration from Bangladesh into West Bengal, Jaitley said that BJP was against illegal immigrants and this had nothing to do with any specific religion.
On foreign relations, Jaitley said that a BJP-led government would certainly work for improving relations with every country including China and Pakistan, but "Indo-Pak relations would actually depend on developments within Pakistan and not on what happens in India".
To another question if he happy with BJP performance in Bihar in the backdrop of reports of RJD leader Lalu Prasad`s rise, he said that Prasad`s rise was happening vis-a-vis Nitish Kumar`s eclipse and not at the cost of BJP.
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