Tag Archives: Arun Jaitley

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today welcomed Moody's Investors Service's first upgrade in nearly 14 years of its ratings on India's sovereign bonds, calling it a "belated recognition of the positive steps taken in last few years to strengthen the economy." Mr Jaitley also hit out at critics of the government's economic policies saying, "many who had doubts about India's reform process can now seriously introspect on their position."

The Finance Minister said the upgrade was recognition and endorsement that "a number of structural reforms in the last three years have placed India on a path of high trajectory growth," and also that "India continues to  follow a path of fiscal prudence which has brought stability."

 

Moody's said on Friday that it was lifting India's rating to Baa2 from Baa3 and changed its rating outlook to stable from positive, saying continued progress on economic and institutional reform will boost the country's growth potential.

The upgrade, Moody's first since January 2004, moves India's rating to the second lowest level of the investment grade.

 

It is a big boost for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government and the reforms it has pushed and comes just weeks after the World Bank moved India up 30 places in its annual ease of doing business rankings.

All markets including stocks, bonds and the rupee rallied on the ratings upgrade.

The upgrade also comes just ahead of crucial assembly elections in PM Modi's home state Gujarat, where Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has based his party's election campaign around an attack on the government over an economic slowdown, with growth slipping under 6 per cent in the June quarter. The Congress has blamed last year's demonetisation and its implementation of new national tax GST in July this year.

Mr Jaitley said, "steps, including demonetisation, among others is taking India into a digitised economy. Implementation of Aadhaar has also been a very significant step. Also, the GST, which the world has recognised as one of the most significant reform steps taken in the history of Independent India."

He refused to link today's development to the forthcoming elections saying, "In India, elections happen three or four times each year. That being the case, if everything is only linked to elections, then there would not be any steady economic development and growth. All of us will only be engaged with elections and speeches."

Sitting next to Mr Jaitley, Chief Economic Advisor to the government Arvind Subramanian said, "I think we should all keep in mind that ratings are not causes or motivators of government actions, they are welcomed collateral consequences of government actions. "

Moody's has noted that while a number of key reforms remain at the design phase, it believes those already implemented will advance the government's objective of improving the business climate, enhancing productivity and stimulating investment.

"Longer term, India's growth potential is significantly higher than most other Baa-rated sovereigns," the agency said.

It said GST will boost productivity by removing barriers to inter-state trade, also pointing out that challenges from the implementation of the new tax regime, continuing weakness in private sector investment, slow progress resolving banking sector asset quality issues, and lack of progress in land and labour reform remain key issues.

 

 

 

 

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GUWAHATI:  Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday announced a big overhaul of new national tax GST, saying only 50 items will remain in the highest tax slab of 28 per cent, with 178 others moved to the 18 per cent bracket effective November 15. Dining out will also become cheaper, with food at all restaurants in the country, except those in starred hotels, to be taxed at 5 per cent rather than 18 per cent. Mr Jaitley announced the changes after a day-long meeting with state finance ministers in the powerful GST council that he heads. Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the decisions "people-friendly and people-centric".

 

 

 

 

                                      Here is your 10-point cheatsheet to this story:
  1. The GST council has also reviewed the returns filing cycle and eased rules and deadlines for the current fiscal year. Penalties for late filing have been relaxed. The changes come amid complaints by traders and small businessmen who say GST has increased their tax and administrative burden.
  2.  
  3. The Finance Minister said in more tax rate changes, 13 items will move from the 18 per cent slab to 12 per cent, six items from 18 per cent to 5 per cent, eight items from 12 to 5 and six from  5 per cent to nil. Under GST, goods and services are taxed in four brackets -- 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent.

 

 

 

 

  1. "The (GST) council has been reviewing and rationalising tax rates from time to time, especially those in the tax bracket of 28 per cent. Today, the council has decided to move 178 items from the tax bracket of 28 per cent to 18 per cent," Arun Jaitley said.

 

 

 

 

  1. Among goods that will no longer be taxed 28 per cent GST are daily use items like shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, shaving-cream, aftershave lotion, shoe polish, chocolate, chewing gum and nutritious drinks. 

 

 

 

 

  1. On eating out, the finance minister said that while all restaurants in and outside hotels will carry a 5 per cent GST charge, at those in starred hotels with room tariffs above 7,500 a night customers will have to pay 18 per cent GST. The benefit of ITC (Input Tax Credit) to restaurants has been revoked to restaurants because they were not passing on the benefit to customers, the minister said. 

 

 

 

 

  1. Sushil Modi, who heads a panel on the Goods and Services Tax Network in the council, said the new changes will cost the exchequer around Rs. 20,000 crore ($3.07 billion) this financial year.

 

 

 

 

  1. West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra said opposition parties had "fought and brought down the tax rates on different items but they (the government) did not agree totally and a few essential items are still in the higher slab of 28 per cent."

 

 

 

  1. The new GST changes come amid allegations that the government's GST roll-out and last year's notes ban have caused economic disruption. India's economy is expected to grow at its slowest pace in four years in the fiscal year that ends on March 31, a Reuters poll has found. 

 

 

 

 

  1. "We will not allow BJP to impose a Gabbar Singh Tax on India. They cannot break the back of the small and medium businesses, crush the informal sector and destroy millions of jobs," tweeted Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi as the GST council met. 

 

 

 

 

  1. The Congress has alleged that the BJP government has timed the GST review with an eye on next month's crucial assembly elections in Gujarat, where the important voter group of small traders is upset with the new tax regime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Delhi: The GST Council on Friday in the biggest tax overhaul slashed tax rates on over 200 items, ranging from chewing gum to chocolates, to beauty products to wrist watches to provide relief to consumers and businesses. As many as 178 items of daily use were shifted from the top tax bracket of 28 per cent to 18 per cent. After these changes, only 50 items will attract GST rate of 28 per cent. Tax on two items was cut from 28 per cent to 12 per cent while on six items was reduced from 18 per cent to 5 per cent. On eight items, tax was reduced from 12 per cent to 5 per cent and on six items from 5 per cent to nil.

Another big change, all restaurants will now be levied GST at 5 per cent, without input tax credit (ITC) benefits. Click here to know more on how eating out may get cheaper.

However five-star restaurants within starred-hotels with room rent above Rs. 7,500 will attract 18 per cent and can still avail ITC benefits, the council said. Outdoor catering will attract 18 per cent GST with input tax credit benefits.

Items on which GST was cut from 28 per cent to 18 per cent:

Wire, cables, insulated conductors, electrical insulators, electrical plugs, switches, sockets, fuses, relays, electrical connectors
Electrical boards, panels, consoles, cabinets etc for electric control or distribution
Particle/fibre boards and ply wood. Article of wood, wooden frame, paving block
Furniture, mattress, bedding and similar furnishing
Trunk, suitcase, vanity cases, brief cases, travelling bags and other hand bags, cases
Detergents, washing and cleaning preparations
Liquid or cream for washing the skin
Shampoos; Hair cream, Hair dyes (natural, herbal or synthetic) and similar other goods; henna powder or paste, not mixed with any other ingredient;
Pre-shave, shaving or after-shave preparations, personal deodorants, bath preparations, perfumery, cosmetic or toilet preparations, room deodoriser
Perfumes and toilet waters
Beauty or make-up preparations
Fans, pumps, compressors
Lamp and light fitting
Primary cell and primary batteries
Sanitary ware and parts thereof of all kind
Articles of plastic, floor covering, baths, shower, sinks, washbasins, seats, sanitary ware of plastic
Slabs of marbles and granite
Goods of marble and granite such as tiles
Ceramic tiles of all kinds
Miscellaneous articles such as vacuum flasks, lighters,
Wrist watches, clocks, watch movement, watch cases, straps, parts
Article of apparel & clothing accessories of leather, guts, furskin, artificial fur and other articles such as saddlery and harness for any animal
Articles of cutlery, stoves, cookers and similar non electric domestic appliances
Razor and razor blades
Multi-functional printers, cartridges
Office or desk equipment
Door, windows and frames of aluminium.
Articles of plaster such as board, sheet,
Articles of cement or concrete or stone and artificial stone,
Articles of asphalt or slate,
Articles of mica
Ceramic flooring blocks, pipes, conduit, pipe fitting
Wall paper and wall covering
Glass of all kinds and articles thereof such as mirror, safety glass, sheets, glassware
Electrical, electronic weighing machinery
Fire extinguishers and fire extinguishing charge
Fork lifts, lifting and handling equipment,
Bull dozers, excavators, loaders, road rollers,
Earth moving and levelling machinery,
Escalators,
Cooling towers, pressure vessels, reactors
Crankshaft for sewing machine, tailor's dummies, bearing housings, gears and gearing; ball or roller screws; gaskets
Electrical apparatus for radio and television broadcasting
Sound recording or reproducing apparatus
Signalling, safety or traffic control equipment for transports
Physical exercise equipment, festival and carnival equipment, swings, shooting galleries, roundabouts, gymnastic and athletic equipment
All musical instruments and their parts

Artificial flowers, foliage and artificial fruits
Explosive, anti-knocking preparation, fireworks
Cocoa butter, fat, oil powder,
Extract, essence ad concentrates of coffee, miscellaneous food preparations
Chocolates, Chewing gum / bubble gum
Malt extract and food preparations of flour, groats, meal, starch or malt extract
Waffles and wafers coated with chocolate or containing chocolate
Rubber tubes and miscellaneous articles of rubber
Goggles, binoculars, telescope,
Cinematographic cameras and projectors, image projector,
Microscope, specified laboratory equipment, specified scientific equipment such as for meteorology, hydrology, oceanography, geology
Solvent, thinners, hydraulic fluids, anti-freezing preparation

Items on which GST was cut from 28 per cent to 12 per cent:

Wet grinders consisting of stone as grinder
Tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles

Items on which GST was cut from 18 per cent to 12 per cent:

Condensed milk
Refined sugar and sugar cubes
Pasta
Curry paste, mayonnaise and salad dressings, mixed condiments and mixed seasoning
Diabetic food
Medicinal grade oxygen
Printing ink
Hand bags and shopping bags of jute and cotton
Hats (knitted or crocheted)
Parts of specified agricultural, horticultural, forestry, harvesting or threshing machinery
Specified parts of sewing machine
Spectacles frames
Furniture wholly made of bamboo or cane

Items on which GST was cut from 18 per cent to 5 per cent:

Puffed rice chikki, peanut chikki, sesame chikki, revdi, tilrevdi, khaza, kazuali, groundnut sweets gatta, kuliya
Flour of potatoes put up in unit container bearing a brand name
Chutney powder
Fly ash
Sulphur recovered in refining of crude
Fly ash aggregate with 90% or more fly ash content

Items on which GST was cut from 12 per cent to 5 per cent:

Desiccated coconut
Narrow woven fabric including cotton newar [with no refund of unutilised input tax credit]
Idli, dosa batter
Finished leather, chamois and composition leather
Coir cordage and ropes, jute twine, coir products
Fishing net and fishing hooks
Worn clothing
Fly ash brick

Items on which GST was cut from 5 per cent to nil:

Guar meal
Hop cone (other than grounded, powdered or in pellet form)
Certain dried vegetables such as sweet potatoes, maniac
Unworked coconut shell
Fish frozen or dried (not put up in unit container bearing a brand name)
Khandsari sugar

GST rates on aircraft engines was cut from 28 per cent/18 per cent to 5 per cent, aircraft tyres from 28 per cent to 5 per cent and aircraft seats from 28 per cent to 5 per cent. also GST rate on bangles of lac/shellac from 3 per cent GST rate to Nil.

 

 

 

 

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New Delhi: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday mocked at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley with the spoof of a Ghalib couplet, saying everyone knows the "reality" of ease of doing business in India but "Dr Jaitley" prefers to delude himself.

"Sabko maaloom hai 'ease of doing business' ki haqeeqat; khud ko khush rakhne ke liye 'Dr Jaitley' khayal achha hai," Gandhi tweeted.

The Congress leader, with his new and humorous avatar on the social media, tweaked Urdu poet Ghalib's famous couplet: "Hum ko maloom hai jannat ki haqeeqat lekin; dil ke khush rakhne ko Ghalib ye khayal achcha hai" (We know the reality of Paradise O' Ghalib; but to keep the heart happy about it, this idea is good).

Jaitley immediately shot back at Gandhi, pointing out the difference between the Congress-led UPA and BJP-led NDA governments.

"The difference between the UPA and NDA -- the ease of doing corruption has been replaced by the ease of doing business," the Finance Minister tweeted, apparently in reply to Gandhi's tweet that was re-tweeted more than 4,000 times, attracted nearly 2,500 comments and 9,000 likes within four hours of the post.

On the other hand, Jaitley's tweet had 720 comments, was liked by 1,700 tweeter users and retweeted 720 times within an hour of his reply to the Congress leader.

 

 

 

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Washington: India has underlined the need to understand the global spillovers of domestic policy actions, especially in the area of trade and financial regulations, the Finance Ministry said on Friday.

"It is important to understand the global spill-overs of domestic policy actions of individual member countries especially on matters related to trade and financial regulation," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said while addressing the G-20 Finance Ministers and central bank governors meeting here on Thursday. 

Jaitley is on a week long official tour of the US to attend the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. 

Among other issues, the meeting here discussed the IMF's G-20 report on "Strong, Sustainable, and Balanced Growth", the statement said.

"The report is a useful starting point for studying present challenges facing the global economy and in formulating G-20 response towards addressing these challenges," the statement cited Jaitley as saying.

"Clear descriptions of the policy scenario in each country, the availability of policy space, key challenges and recommended actions may also be shared," he said with reference to the report. 

"This would allow for improved identification of challenges which are relevant to all members, as well as policies that can be undertaken in a coordinated manner," he added. 

 

 

 

 

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NEW DELHI:  The powerful GST council is meeting today to revisit compliance rules for businesses and discuss and make what have been described as "structural changes" in the new national tax regime, acting on feedback and complaints from businesses. The review comes amid criticism over the way GST has been implemented. Two days ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised that glitches would be fixed and he held a meeting yesterday with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and BJP chief Amit Shah

 

 

Here are the 10 points on this meeting:
  1. The focus is on relief for small and medium traders and exporters and the GST council is expected to relax the rule that requires businesses to file three returns every month. Businesses with a turnover of up to 1.5 crores are likely to be allowed to file quarterly returns.

 

 

 

 

  1. There is also a proposal to raise the threshold for the composition scheme - which allows small traders to pay a standard tax rate - from Rs. 75 lakh in turnover to Rs. 1 crore.

 

 

 

  1. The council is also expected to consider demands that the reverse charge mechanism be suspended. This rule - which shifts the liability to pay the tax on the buyer rather than the seller - kicks in if a supplier is not registered under GST to check tax evasion.

 

 

 

  1. The GST rates for textiles and some other items may be revised by the council, which is made up of state finance ministers, officials from both states and the Centre and is headed by union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

 

 

 

  1. The council is likely to recommend relaxation for exporters so that their working capital locked up in refunds is released. It is also expected to allow electronic payment of taxes.

 

 

 

  1. Earlier this week central bank RBI cautioned that "teething problems" with GST had impacted the manufacturing sector. The RBI governor has suggested simplifying GST to boost growth.

 

 

 

  1. At a meeting last week with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, industry bodies and exporters had asked for quicker refund of duties, deferment of filing of GST returns for six months.

 

 

 

  1. As he made a strong defence of the government's economic policies on Wednesday, PM Modi also promised to fix problems in GST cited by businesses. "We have seen closely what is working and what is not... We are not orthodox and conservative. We also don't know everything. But if something needs to be done, we shall do it," he has said.

 

 

 

 

  1. The course correction comes against the backdrop of stinging attacks on the government for what the opposition alleges was a hurried and sloppy implementation of the mega tax reform. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has accused the government of crushing small business with a complicated process.

 

 

 

 

  1. In the last week, two former union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shouriecriticised the government's handling of the economy with Mr Sinha alleging that a "badly-conceived and poorly-implemented GST" was playing havoc with businesses.

 

 

 

 

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New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said that "bigger economic reforms" can be thought of after the newly implemented Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime reaches a revenue neutral status.

Jaitley made the remarks at the "Foundation Day" event of the National Academy of Customs, Indirect Taxes and Narcotics (NACIN).

 

Read more: In August Rs 90,669 Carore Collected From GST

"Even reduction of tax slabs under the current GST regime can happen but only after it reaches a revenue neutral plus status," he added

 

 

 

 

 

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New Delhi:  The morning after his extreme indictment of the government's role in the economic slowdown, veteran BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said "I stand by my analysis." Mr Sinha, a former finance minister, said "short-sighted" decisions are being rushed by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and that there is no denying that the economy has hit a rough spot. "We used to blame the UPA (previous government) for policy paralysis," he said, "after 40 months in power, we can't (still) blame the earlier government," he told news agency ANI.

Yashwant Sinha, 79, stung his party yesterday with an opinion piece titled "I Need To Speak Up Now" in which he demolished Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and his handling of the economy, which fell to a three-year-low of 5.7 percent in the last quarter.

The government rejected his assessment. "Under the decisive leadership of PM Modi, India has become the world's fastest-growing economy for three years in a row," said union minister Piyush Goyal.
This morning, Mr Sinha's son, Jayant Sinha, who is a union minister, wrote an article for the Times of India in which he countered his father, declaring that criticism of the economy in recent articles "draw sweeping conclusions from a narrow set of facts, and quite simply miss the fundamental structural reforms that are transforming the economy."

His father today said that claims of the last quarter as an anomaly to the government's economic accomplishments cannot be accepted because the economy has been sliding for years now. He also repeated his criticism of the government's rushed introduction of the landmark GST or national sales tax, stating that its hurried implementation is hurting businesses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will meet the chief of the Goods and Services Tax Network AB Pandey today to discuss fixing glitches in the implementation of the mega tax reform. Also present, will be meet industry bodies and exporters to discuss problems they are facing in filing tax returns and on refunds under the new national tax regime. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday asked the country's top bureaucrats to "handhold" traders to resolve their problems relating to GST.

 

 

 

Here is your 10-point cheat-sheet to this story:
  1. Challenges like the GST Network portal, the IT backbone of the new tax process, crashing repeatedly is said to have compounded confusion and Mr Jaitley will discuss that today, sources said.  

 

  1. Sources in the Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) have told NDTV that they will raise the issue of significant delays in GST refunds and will also suggest an e-wallet facility for exporters to the Finance Minister.

 

 

  1. Exporters have complained about working capital being blocked since the launch of GST in July brought in sweeping changes in the way taxes are paid and have sought quicker refunds. Exporters have also sought that export benefit scrips be allowed to pay taxes.

 

 

  1. Today's meeting follows up one held by Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu with industry leaders earlier this week.

 

 

  1. The government is under attack from the opposition, particularly the Congress, on the way it has implemented GST. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has accused the government of crushing small business with a complicated process, criticising the need to fill multiple forms under the new rules and has said his party will pressure the government to simplify the procedure.

 

 

  1. In a stinging critique of the government's handling of the economy yesterday, senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said, "a badly conceived and poorly implemented GST has played havoc with businesses and sunk many of them."

 

 

  1. At a 'Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation' (PRAGATI) meeting with top officials yesterday, PM Modi said traders across the country are "positive" about GST and are accepting the new taxation arrangement, but that they need "handholding" so that their problems can be resolved.

 

 

  1. He urged chief secretaries of states to use the district administration to ensure that small traders are facilitated to access and adopt the new system.

 

 

  1. The Prime Minister reiterated that small businesses must register with the GST Network to take advantage of business opportunities and said the common man and the trader must benefit from this "path-breaking" decision.

 

 

  1. The Finance Minister had earlier this month constituted a Group of Ministers (GoM) to monitor and resolve the IT challenges faced in the implementation of GST.  Sushil Kumar Modi, Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, is the convener. 

 

 

 

  1. Arun Jaitley has also set up a committee under Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia on exports to look into problems faced by the export sector and to recommend to the GST Council a suitable strategy for helping the exporters post-GST.

 

 

 

 

 

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New Delhi:  Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha has ruffled feathers in the ruling BJP with his strong critique on the state of Indian economy, saying it was headed for a "hard landing". The government rejected the criticism while the Congress hailed his assessment.

In an article in The Indian Express, Sinha, who was Finance Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and is now estranged from the party, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi "claims he has seen poverty from close quarters (and) his Finance Minister (Arun Jaitley) is working over-time to make sure that all Indians also see it from equally close quarters".

 

Illustrating the picture of the economy today, Sinha said private investment had shrunk "as never before in two decades" while industrial production had all but collapsed.

"Agriculture is in distress, construction industry, a big employer of the work force, is in the doldrums, the rest of the service sector is also in the slow lane, exports have dwindled, sector after sector of the economy is in distress."

He singled out demonetisation, saying spiking large currency notes "has proved to be an unmitigated economic disaster" which coupled with "a badly conceived and poorly implemented GST" has played havoc with businesses and sunk many of them.

The outspoken Sinha noted that Jaitley, who also holds the department of disinvestment and Department of Corporate Affairs and earlier held the Defence Ministry, was carrying the "heavy burden" of many extra responsibilities and it was "perhaps too much to expect from" him.

Sinha said he was speaking about the mess after realizing that "I shall be failing in my national duty if I did not speak up even now".

"I am also convinced that (it) reflects the sentiments of a large number of people in the BJP and elsewhere who are not speaking up out of fear."

Congress leader and former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram lauded Sinha's critique, saying he was absolutely correct when he wrote that "instilling fear in the minds of the people is name of the new game".

Chidambaram said the Congress had assiduously exposed the "many weaknesses and a terrible mismanagement" of the economy.

"We are happy that Yashwant Sinha has echoed our criticism," said Chidambaram, who added: "It is not often that from this platform the principal opposition party will welcome a statement of a veteran leader of the ruling party."

Chidambaram said Sinha's views were not different from what MPs belonging to the BJP and other parties "have told us since many months privately and in soft whispers".

He said it was a sad commentary on the times that MPs were afraid to reflect what they see and hear around them, especially in their constituencies. "Yet we call ourselves a free country."

Chidambaram said it were not only MPs who have become silent. "We have witnessed numerous examples of news reports and articles being pulled out before publication; of television interviews being taken off air; of scheduled talks at universities being cancelled; of social activists being investigated on trumped up charges; of editors and reporters being unceremoniously sacked; of academics and scholars being threatened; of judges being indirectly punished; and, most tragically, of authentic voices of the people being silenced by brutal killings."

Chidambaram said at least a dozen BJP MPs have "spoken to us" in the Central Hall and in committees about the economy. "Nobody dares to ask questions. An MP from Maharashtra who raised questions was asked to shut up. In this atmosphere of fear, if Sinha speaks up then he is speaking the truth."

The government rejected Sinha's criticism, saying the world acknowledged that India "is one of the fastest growing economies".

"No one should forget it. Our image at the international level is very strong," Home Minister Rajnath Singh told reporters.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said Prime Minister Modi has given the "cleanest government" and had attacked black money and corruption like no one else has done.

 

 

 

 

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