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Union Commence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
Union Commence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

GST can make Indian made products cheaper: Sitharaman

Hyderabad: Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman said that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) could make Indian made products cheaper in India than imported products.

Do you know that a south Indian state importing wheat from North India is more costly than importing the same from Australia.

GST can actually make Indian goods cheaper for Indian customers rather than importing them, the Union Minister stated while addressing an interactive session organized by Young FICCI Ladies Organisation (YFLO) here on Saturday.

She expressed satisfaction that everybody supported the bill and could be passed in Rajya Sabha. Justifying the bill, Nirmala Sitharaman hoped that India would become a better economy. “I am grateful to those who supported the bill.

There is one single indirect tax structure in place in the country. It removes many layers of indirect taxes. Indians deserve simple form of taxation,” she replied.

Nirmala Sitharaman was in conversation with Nidhi Swarup, Chairperson of YFLO. Replying to another question if something could be done to encourage and promote entrepreneurship in women, as some countries like Israel has a startup incubation centre only for women, she said, it is not a bad idea.

That is why you women should tell the government what they want from us. Otherwise, we will come out with our own regulations and you may not appreciate, she told the packed hall.

It is quite disappointment to note that just 8 per cent of total startups in India are run by women. But, the number is growing, she quickly added. Lot of women are coming forward into startup ecosystem. I welcome more women to plunge into startups, she said.

Skills should get more weightage than the benefits one gets from the employment, commented Nirmala Sitharaman, when she was sought to comment on Union Government’s recent announcement to increase the paid maternity leave from existing 12 weeks to 26 weeks.

While the underlying intent is good, there is a growing concern that this may become counter-productive and that it may dissuade employers from hiring women employees, Nirmala Sitharaman categorically answered that skills should score over benefits in considering a job.

Recently the launch of 104 satellites by ISRO brought to the limelight all the women scientists behind that amazing feat. What are the steps government is taking in encouraging women to play an active role in traditionally male dominated industries? Nirmala Sitharama replied that Indian education got engineered by our mindsets that engineering is the only future.

Parents must stop putting peer pressure on their wards. If you micromanage children education, we will have low end engineers rather than high end rocket engineers. Onus is not with the government. Allow children to decide their own career.

When asked what should be done to encourage our next generation of women to make a career in politics she said, Indian politics need more women. We don’t need stereotype male, female politicians. We need honest people who could serve the nation in true sense.

We need such people who can bring in fresh approach into politics. I want one women from each table in this hall to get into active politics, she said.

For many educated women in India not belong to political background, this is not the first choice of career. I want more educated women to get into politics, Nirmala Sitharaman said.

When asked if we could see her ever actively involved in the regional politics of Tamil Nadu, she said it is difficult to answer. And quickly added that she is happy for whatever she is today.

She being from Madurai in Tamil Nadu and there being a huge vacuum now in the state and need a good leader and if there could be a day where we get to see here actively involved in the regional politics of Tamil Nadu, she was reluctant to answer and simply summed up that she is very happy with her role now.

Nearly 200 members of FLO, YFLO and their spouses participated in the interactive session. Nirmala Sitharaman answered many questions of the participants.

Earlier welcoming the gathering Nidhi Swarup, Chairperson of YFLO said who could be the better person than the Minister for Commerce and Industry to address the YFLO members. She thanked the Minister for accepting the invitation of YFLO to address them.

YFLO informed that they embarked on a novel project “Give a Child a Book a Day”. They have distributed about 600 books to 3 government schools, which will soon have library of their own on par with many reputed private schools. (INN)

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