Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said India has potential to grow faster and plans are underway to reduce poverty and create jobs in rural areas. Mr Jaitley, who is meeting top government officials and business leaders in London, told reporters in London that India still has the potential to grow at a higher rate than today. A series of action is needed to reduce poverty in the rural areas. The Minister said he does not see India becoming a cashless system immediately but he anticipates India becoming less-cash economy. Mr Jaitley hoped that the Goods and Services Tax would be implemented by 1st of July this year.
The Finance Minister said the Indian government takes the issue of defaulters very seriously. In response to a question, Mr. Jaitley said he may raise the issue of defaulters based in Britain with the UK government, in an apparent reference to liquor baron Vijay Mallya. Because of the strong steps taken by the government, the Finance Minister said, some defaulters are on the run. Being on the run, they find refuge in certain other jurisdictions, exploiting the systems in other parts of the world.
Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth II yesterday hosted a reception at the Buckingham Palace to launch the UK-India Year of Culture 2017 with Mr Jaitley representing the Indian government at the historic event. The 90-year-old Queen was joined by her husband, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, and grandson Prince William and his wife Kate. It showcased the cultural diversity of India in the form of dance.