Monday, November 29, 1999

Pranab latches 8.5-pc growth to good monsoon

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Ahmedabad, June 16 (PTI) Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said if the country gets a normal monsoon, the economy can clip at 8.5 per cent this fiscal. Talking to newsmen after a meeting with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and senior state government officials here today, Mukherjee said the first quarter advance tax collection and April industrial production numbers of 17.6 per cent are very encouraging signs of the economic recovery. "The economy is moving in the right direction and with a favourable monsoon, the GDP target of 8.5 per cent will be met," the finance minister said. To a query on the high fiscal deficit, he said the proceeds from the 3G and BWA auctions have given him with some elbow room. On a query on the proposed goods and service tax, he said he had met the chief ministers, finance ministers and other officials to discuss the concerns of the states. "I have developed the habit of meeting the chief minister and finance minister of the state I am visiting. Recently, I was on a visit to Bihar where also I met the CM and others to discuss the GST and other issues," he said. Mukherjee said moving fast on the GST is very important as it is to be rolled out by the Centre and the states collectively and that requires some constitutional amendment. "Apart from the constitutional amendment, there are some issues and concerns of the states and others that need to be discussed," he said, adding he had received some memorandums regarding the issues related to the GST, which would replace the all the indirect taxes at the Central and state levels. Meanwhile, Modi said he has discussed issues pertaining to the GST with Mukherjee and said that the concerns of the states, manufacturers and consumers need to be addressed by the Centre before finalising the GST rollout. He further said GST also involves some administrative issues. He further informed that he has submitted a detailed memorandum to Mukherjee regarding GST rollout.

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