New Delhi: Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian on Monday termed the GST (goods and services tax) launch a big transformational event of 2017-18.
Sharing the key highlights of Economic Survey 2018 that was tabled by the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament at the start of the Budget session on Monday, Chief Economic Adviser said, "Economy is picking up as temporary impact of GST and demonetisation is dissipating, exports are also picking up."
He said the direction of the economy is very good and the economy is picking up "robustly". Subramanian added that the promise of GST going forward looks very good.
The Chief Economic Adviser said that the working of GST Council has shown that cooperative federalism can work.
“If you look over the last 50-60 years of India, we have moved from "crony socialism" to "stigmatised capitalism,” he said.
Arvind Subramanian said, "The major achievements this year gone are the launch of GST, decisive tackling of Twin Balance Sheet challenge and validation of achievements and recognition of medium term prospects."
He further said, "We think of the twin balance sheet challenges having 4 ‘R’s – Recognition, Resolution, Recapitalisation and Reforms. I think now we are well ahead on all of them."
"From the very first survey onwards we’ve spoken about the twin balance sheet challenges, under capitalised banks which held back growth for a very long time. This year a series of very important steps are being taken," he added.
“Policy agenda for the year ahead --support agriculture, stabilise GST, complete TBS actions with reforms, privatise Air India and head-off macro economic pressures and possibility of a 'sudden stall' from rising oil prices and sharp correction in stock prices,” Subramanian said.
Subramanian further said, "Oil prices went up this year, which affected consumption and government finances."
In January 2017, the Survey had forecast that the country's GDP to grow between 6.75 per cent and 7.5 per cent in 2017-18. In August, in its mid-year Economic Survey, the finance ministry noted that there are downside risks to achieving the higher end of the 6.75-7.5 per cent GDP growth forecast.
Arvind Subramanian, in his assessment, said that there has been a sudden increase in number of big tax filers post-demonetisation in November 2016. “About 36 per cent of total GST filers, eligible for composition scheme or could have opted out from GST (below GST threshold), filed regular GST returns in first five months,” he said.
The Chief Economic Adviser said, "As India emerges as one of the world’s largest economies, it needs to gradually move from being a net consumer of knowledge to becoming a net producer."
He further said, "Government does not have to do anything radical; just finishing what it has started already would be a very ambitious and fantastic agenda to complete."
“Indian exports are much less concentrated by firms: Top 1 per cent of Indian exporters account for 38 per cent of exports. Share much greater in other countries: 72, 68, 67, and 55 per cent in Brazil, Germany, Mexico, and USA, respectively,” Subramanian said on the growth seen in India’s exports.