Mr Arun Jaitley, India’s ex Finance Minister, and an important leader in the Modi Govt. has passed away today, on Saturday 24/08/2019. Mr. Jaitley, who held several important portfolios in his political career spanning over four decades, passed away at 12.07 P.M at AIIMS in the New Delhi.
He was a senior Supreme Court lawyer par excellence, a senior leader and key strategist of the BJP who held several important portfolios including finance, defence, commerce and industry, corporate affairs, and law and justice in the governments of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Let us take a look at some of the major achievements of Arun Jaitley as India’s Finance Minister.
1. Goods and Services Tax (GST)
The nation-wide implementation of GST will be considered as one of the biggest achievements of Arun Jaitley as Finance Minister.
Taking all the states on board, and convincing them of the power of single-nation, single-tax was an extraordinary achievement, and Arun did it.
2. FDI Liberalization
Liberating FDI from strict rules was a process which Arun Jaitley carried on, and under his leadership, India eased several FDI policies in the sectors of Defense, Insurance and Aviation, which helped India get billions of dollars in FDI, which was not possible.
Demonetisation was another big decision under Arun Jaitley, which helped India recover blakc money, and unleash a new chapter in financial policies.
He was known for bringing in innovation in Budget speeches, included Railways Budget in the main budget, and more.
3. Bankruptcy and insolvency code
Arun Jaitley introduced the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2015 in the Lok Sabha on 21 December 2015. It passed by Parliament in May 2016 and became effective in December 2016.
It highlights the separate insolvency resolution processes for individuals, companies and partnership firms. Under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India was established on 1st October 2016. According to Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India website, “The board is responsible for implementation of the code that consolidates and amends the laws relating to reorganisation and insolvency resolution of corporate persons, partnership firms and individuals in a time-bound manner for maximisation of the value of assets of such persons, to promote entrepreneurship, availability of credit and balance the interests of all the stakeholders.”
4. Income tax slabs
He advocated to raise Income tax slab to Rs 5 lakh. According to an report, Jaitley said, “Direct Tax should be reduced. The Income-Tax limit has to be raised from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. The savings in the pockets of an ordinary person by reducing the ceiling on Income Tax will lead to increased purchase which in turn will lead to increased VAT and Excise Duty thereby increasing the Revenue”
5. Setting up of a Monetary Policy Committee
His other big achievements include setting up of a Monetary Policy Committee to set the inflation target of 4% with an allowance of plus or minus 2% and the further liberalisation of foreign investment rules.
In addition, Jaitley took steps to stabilise the economy, which ensured India was no longer a part of the Fragile Five club. Not only did he raise GDP growth from 6.4% in FY14 to 6.8% in FY19, he also brought down consumer price inflation from 9.5% in FY14 to 2.92% in April 2019. For the poor, keeping a lid on inflation was perhaps his biggest achievement.
6. Consolidation of the banking sector
The consolidation of the banking sector was another major step initiated by Jaitley during his five-year term at North Block. He merged five associated banks of State Bank of India (SBI) and Bharatiya Mahila Bank with SBI, and also merged Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank with Bank of Baroda.
His contribution to governance has been profound. Heartfelt condolences to family friends and followers.