We have missed the 2020 bus, says Jaitley


Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday that there was a need for credible politics to ensure there can be credible policies that deliver the GDP growth rates that will make India a developed country at least by 2030, ten years later than the goal given by the former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. “We can’t have another spectrum scam,” he said.Delivering the first Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Memorial Lecture here, whose first death anniversary was on Wednesday, Mr. Jaitley said that if India could grow faster and distribute the benefits, that would be the best antidote to poverty and to bridge the divides of caste, religion and regions.‘Focus on education’“Dr. Kalam’s vision of becoming developed by 2020 doesn’t seem possible now, we have missed the bus, the date will have to be pushed…what can we do to achieve it by 2030,” he said. Dr. Kalam, he said, spoke of a system of providing urban-like facilities in rural areas and laid emphasis on education and the development of scientific temperament. Mr. Jaitley said “we cannot afford to have Bengaluru and Gurgaon, the IT hubs that are representatives of India globally, in the condition they have been over the last few hours”. The monsoon rains have brought the two cities to their knees.The BJP-led NDA government had emphasised large scale investment in infrastructure, including in highways and irrigation, the Minister said, was in line with Dr. Kalam’s vision. The Goods & Services Tax, a uniform tax across the country, was important not only because it would lower the burden of taxation but also improve the ease of doing business.
Mr. Jaitley, who had been the one to be tasked with briefing Dr. Kalam with the responsibilities of the President in wake of the decision of his candidature for the post by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, shared memories of their interactions. “After I had briefed him, he asked two questions: how developed are our laws with regard to the resources under the sea and the other about our resources in the hemisphere,” Mr. Jaitley said.Recounting Dr. Kalam’s “ability to charm,” Mr. Jaitley said that instead of delivering a lecture at Delhi University’s Shri Ram College of Commerce, he put it up on the Internet and sought questions from students. At the college, he replied to 20 questions he had picked from those posted and interacted with students. Just before leaving, he stepped out of his car and returned to the auditorium, saying he had forgotten something, Mr. Jaitley recollected. “Back inside, he told the 20 students that he had forgotten to get a picture with them and got some shot.”

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