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Arun Jaitley death anniversary: A look at some major achievements of the former finance minister

A lawyer by profession, there is a long list of Arun Jaitley’s behind-the-scenes accomplishments, which made him BJP's problem solver in New Delhi

 

On BJP stalwart and former finance minister Arun Jaitley’s second death anniversary, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister for Railways Ashwini Vaishnav, and other political leaders paid tribute on Tuesday. Jaitley died at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi on August 24, 2019.

A lawyer by profession, Jaitley was BJP’s problem solver in New Delhi with a long list of behind-the-scenes accomplishments.

During Jaitley’s era, many big-ticket reforms were initiated and implemented including the goods and services tax (GST), the bankruptcy code, the real estate bill, and the establishment of the monetary policy committee among others.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, remembering Arun Jaitley on this death anniversary wrote, “An amiable, gentle guide who is missed immensely. A friend to all. Had broad strong shoulders to bear challenges. His quick grasp of matters was admired by many”.

The BJP leader died at 66 years of age last year after battling a prolonged illness. Jaitley was known as the cultured gentleman, chief strategist, distinguished parliamentarian, visionary leader, and the troubleshooter minister of the NDA government.

On his first death anniversary, here are 5 achievements of the former FM: 

1. NPA cleanup: The banking sector NPA cleanup began under his watch, the result of which was visible as some state-run banks returned to profit. In 2018, when Piyush Goyal was interim finance minister, he credited Jaitley for the NPA clean-up and said that the banking system has strengthened to once again start becoming a powerful engine of growth, financing the infrastructure and other credit needs of the economy. During Jaitley’s tenure as FM, NPA came down from 11.2% in March 2018 to 10.3% in December 2018.

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2. Goods and Services Tax (GST): GST is undoubtedly the biggest tax reform since independence and Arun Jaitley was the architect of the indirect tax regime. Seven months after PM Modi formed the government in 2014, Arun Jaitley introduced the GST Bill in the Lok Sabha.

India’s long-delayed biggest indirect tax reform was finally implemented by Jaitley by giving the GST Council—comprising state finance ministers—the power to set the tax rates. He created the vital institutional precedent of decision-making by consensus in the GST Council, building on the tradition created by Yashwant Sinha in his empowered committee of state finance ministers.

After passing through both the houses of Parliament, the GST regime was launched at midnight on July 1, 2017. The launch was marked by a historic midnight session of both the houses of Parliament convened in the Central Hall of Parliament. Jaitley’s untiring patience through long negotiations was widely acknowledged when it comes to GST and the credit for getting all states on board with GST also goes to him.

3. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC): This could be regarded as an even bigger reform than GST and Arun Jaitley had a major hand in it. Arun Jaitley introduced the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2015 in the Lok Sabha on 21 December 2015. It was passed by Parliament in May 2016 and became effective in December 2016. With the introduction of IBC, for the first time, an orderly, time-bound framework exists for dealing with bankruptcies. Not just that, this also changed borrower-creditor relationships despite facing multiple delays. In fact, according to CRISIL, Rs 70,000 crore were recovered through the IBC in just FY19.

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4. Market Surge: BSE Sensex gained about 65 per cent under the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA)- 1 government [ex-FM Arun Jaitley’s five-year term]. The benchmark Sensex rallied 65 per cent to 39,110.21 (May 22, 2019) from a level of 23,905.60 (May 15, 2014). While the stock indices may not have breached the upper circuits during Jaitley’s term as FM but there were plenty of instances when the markets welcomed the policy announcements by the government and Jaitley and the changing stance of international authorities towards India.

5. Macro Stabilisation and Banking reforms: As FM, Jaitley expressed time and again the NDA government inherited a weak economy. Despite the setback, he managed to stabilise the macroeconomy during his tenure. Under Jaitley’s watch, the macros improved dramatically, and as he often said, “India emerged from the Fragile Five into ‘bright spark’”. Jaitley was also the one who pushed FDI reforms, opening defence, insurance, and aviation among others to higher overseas investment. Banking reforms are another feather in the former FM’s cap. It was under his tenure that consolidation of bank reforms gained pace. Among the major lenders, Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank were merged with Bank of Baroda. The government also came out with bank recapitalisation plans to infuse capital into the 12 public sector banks in order to help them maintain regulatory capital requirements.

Source-https://www.timesnownews.com/business-economy/economy/article/arun-jaitley-death-anniversary-a-look-at-some-major-achievements-of-the-former-finance-minister/802944

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