'Proof That Most Church Attacks Not Communal, Will Media Tell Truth Now?' Arun Jaitley to NDTV

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley speaks exclusively to NDTV

New Delhi:

In a special townhall, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley takes questions from eminent citizens and students. Defending the Rafale deal with France Mr Jaitley said "it's an example of political decisiveness". On the Sonia Gandhi-led Opposition blocking the Land Bill, he said, "I am afraid she may not have read the amendments". Accusing the Congress of being a liability in power and a liability in Opposition, he said joint session of Parliament was a constitutional provision in front of the government vis-a-vis Land Bill. He blamed the media for creating insecurity among Christians saying most of the cases of attack on Christians had been resolved and not one had been of majority community attacking the minority community. He also spoke on retrospective tax, his equation with RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, the conversions debate and Rahul Gandhi.

Here are the highlights of his discussion:

  • We have cleaned up the desk of UPA legacy issues in the last 11 months.
  • I look back in satisfaction on work done in the last 11 months.
  • We have sped up the decision-making process.
  • The Rafale negotiation process was taking too long. We cannot sit on decisions for long with respect to the needs of our armed forces.
  • The Rafale deal is a sign of political decisiveness.
  • May be we can make Rafale in India in the years to come, but the Indian Air Force can't be ill-equipped till then.
  • 49% FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in Defence has helped Indian firms enter in Joint Ventures (JV's) with international makers.
  • (On RBI) There is nothing wrong in two institutions having conflicting opinions.
  • In most countries, public debt management has moved to government from Reserve Banks.
  • There are no personal differences with RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, just some conflicting viewpoints.
  • I want interest rates to be a lot lesser, however the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is slightly conservative.
  • Retrospective tax is a terrible idea, my government won't tax retrospectively.
  • We have issued no retrospective tax notice in the last 11 months. The notice to Cairn Energy was issued in January 2014, Shell too, got it during UPA's time.
  • Can't wave off previous tax demands, India can't be a tax haven.
  • Some tax issues are the sins of the previous government that i have inherited.
  • Hopefully i will get GST approved in the coming session of Parliament.
  • GST will be the single biggest tax reform since independence.
  • Hope to implement Goods and Services Tax (GST) from April 2016.
  • Mamata Banerjee is very vocal in support of GST, I hope to get states along.
  • Aim to bring corporate tax down from 34% to 25% in the next four years.
  • Sonia Gandhi's land bill will keep rural India poor perpetually.
  • UPA law says that you cannot acquire land for rural infrastructure.
  • We want to fast-track process for rural infrastructure.
  • I am afraid that Sonia Gandhi may not have read our amendments.
  • I am convinced that i am going to help rural India with amendments.
  • Joint session is a Constitutional provision, but why should i reveal my cards?
  • (On beedi baron on tobacco panel) House rules say MP can speak on any issue of conflict if he discloses it.
  • Whole House was against Chidambaram when he taxed beedis.
  • (ON Greenpeace and other NGOs) The larger question is shouldn't there be some rules for NGOs
  • Politicians declare assets; shouldn't NGOs declare funding too?
  • NGO's opposed Narmada project, but look how it helped Madhya Pradesh and Kutch.
  • Why can't NGO's list their donors in first paragraph of petition so that the country know.
  • One NGO gave full page advertisements against the BJP in 1999; Where did money come from?
  • 5-star activists was phraseology; I call it donor-driven activism.
  • Language rule is for all; TV channels can't have hashtags saying ''traitor''.
  • VK Singh could have avoided the word he used (presstitutes), but the hashtag used by one channel against him was wrong"
  • What's good for goose, good for gander. media can't use words it did for VK Singh either.
  • Even if media is excessive as one channel was with VK Singh, politicians should look other way.
  • (On lawmakers and party members making irresponsible comments) Irresponsible and extreme statements by some party members and allies are a problem
  • Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut's remark on revoking Muslims' voting rights was extremely offensive.
  • One needs to be responsible in dealing with issues of region, religion, caste, and language.
  • We can't allow government's agenda to be hijacked by some irresponsible statements.
  • Insecurity in Christian community because of media misreporting.
  • It's a perverse argument to say that conversion is allowed but re-conversion is not.
  • Conversion and re-conversion have to be governed by the same rules.
  • I don't know where Rahul Gandhi is, but I wish him well.
  • Had Congress won the elections, the country would have been looking for it's Prime Minister.
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