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Black money names will embarrass Congress: Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said the Congress will be embarrassed if the names of people holding illicit foreign accounts are made public.

“The names (of black money account holders) will be in public shortly… I can assure you there is no embarrassment I (the Bharatiya Janata Party) will have when all the names are disclosed. There is some embarrassment the Congress will have because of those names,” he said.

Jaitley said the names of those account holders against whom charges are filed by the Indian authorities would be disclosed in the court shortly.

On the Congress accusing BJP of hypocrisy for its failure to disclose names, Jaitley said the former got it all wrong because the media “completely misreported” the case.

“Media said we are not going to disclose it. Our case was we will disclose it according to the due process of law,” he said.

He added India’s double taxation avoidance agreement with Germany restrains disclosure of names in media and not in court.

On the appointment of Arvind Subramanian as chief economic advisor (CEA), the finance minister said, “he is a man of stature, he is internationally recognised, extremely competent, experienced and a person of ideas” like former CEA and Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan.

Jaitley said intellectual people are required to advise the government, though “we may not accept every suggestion” that they make.

Jaitley also said commercial mining of coal will soon be opened for private sector firms.

“They (private companies) are already there for end use (captive mining)… I can’t bind myself by a timeline but there would be some players, hopefully very soon they should be there in the field,” he said, when asked when the private sector would be allowed to enter the coal mining without end-use restrictions.

Currently, only Coal India, the world’s largest coal miner, and its sister public sector undertaking, Singareni Collieries, besides mining agencies of state government are allowed commercial coal mining.

In 1993, private sector participation in mining of coal for captive use by industries like steel, cement and power producers was allowed.

Jaitley said the ordinance the government is issuing to allocate the coal mines cancelled by Supreme Court to state-owned power generator NTPC and state electricity boards as well as e-auction has an enabling clause to allow private sector in commercial mining later.

He said the revised Constitution Amendment Bill to roll out a Goods and Services Tax (GST) would be introduced in the Winter Session of Parliament.

He also said the first “tranche” of compensation to states for their revenue loss arising due to phasing out of central sales tax (CST) may also be taken up in the Winter Session.

“Confident of introducing revised GST Constitution Amendment Bill in the Winter Session. Targeting Winter Session for transfer of first tranche of CST compensation (to states),” Jaitley said.

The government proposes to implement GST from April 1, 2016, and the new Finance Commission may be set up ahead of its schedule to look into the issues related with the new indirect tax regime.

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