Alphons defends Centre’s handling of economy

Alphons defends Centre’s handling of economy

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Says demonetisation and GST will usher in revolutionary changes

K.J. Alphons, Union Minister for Tourism, Electronics and IT, said here on Monday that demonetisation and GST would usher in revolutionary changes to the Indian economy in the long term.

“Despite the slowdown, India remains the fastest growing economy. It will, however, take some time for things to fall into place – be it demonetisation or GST,” he said while addressing a meet-the-press programme organised by the Thiruvananthapuram Press Club.

“While demonetisation has led to a surge in the income tax remittances and helped to curb black money, GST has suffered teething troubles but is poised to make major changes to the economy,” he said.

The Minister said senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha’s criticism of the Modi government on the economic front was part of an individual agenda. Terming Mr. Sinha as a jobseeker at the age of 80, Mr. Alphons accused him of being driven by his hostility towards Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Asserting that demonetisation and GST had not affected the tourism sector, he said tourist arrivals had gone up by 15.5% this year.

The Minister said the Centre and States could work together, putting aside political differences. Asked about the impact of the increase in fuel prices on the common man, he explained that a major chunk of the revenue from the price hike was being spent on subsidies for the poor.

The government, he added, was focussed on providing housing, employment, sanitation, food and education for all citizens.