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Aaron Jaitley: Former Finance Minister of India dies



Arun Jaitley, who was India's finance minister for five years through May 2019, died Saturday in New Delhi. He was 66.

Jaitley assumed the post of senior economic officer in India in 2014 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's election victory, where he pledged to stimulate growth and create millions of jobs.

A lawyer once jailed for student protests, a veteran politician finds himself at the center of a violent storm while implementing Modi's shock decision to ban 86% of India's money in November 2016.
The abrupt move sent shockwaves through the $ 2 trillion economy of India. Gross domestic product growth declined from 7% to 6% in the six months following the ban, as several sectors of the economy stopped. Jaitley repeatedly defended the move as essential to reducing tax avoidance and the promotion of digital payments, calling it a "watershed moment" that Indians will look back on proudly, even as business continues to struggle a year later.

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"Whether or not history will remember that Mr. Jaitley tried to pick up the pieces rather than cause the event itself, it is difficult to say," Naben Sen, India's Governor at the International Growth Center and a former Indian official told CNN Business.

Another notable reform came in July 201
7, when India redesigned its tax system. A new tax on goods and services replaced the complex network of customs at the national and state levels, creating a single market in India for the first time since the huge state became independent in 1947.
  Jaitley assumed the leadership of the Indian economy in 2014 [19659010] Jaitley took over the management of the Indian economy in 2014.

"Old India has been economically fragmented. New India will create one tax, one market and one nation," Jaitley said when the reform was passed by parliament.

The tax was broad The International Monetary Fund said it could eventually add nearly two percentage points to India's growth, but many companies were struggling to adapt and said the new system was too complex.

"Of course, the crown of glory was the accomplishment of [goods and services tax] I think it will be his true legacy," Sen said.

Jaitley's deteriorating health – he performed a kidney transplant in May 2018 – forced him to resign from Modi's second government a year later, shortly after the Indian leader won re-election by landslide.
"In the future, I would like to protect myself from any liability for some time," says Jaitley in a letter to Modi. "This will allow me to concentrate on my healing and health."

Jiley is a longtime member of the Bharatiya Janata Modi Party, or BJP. He was elected president of the University of Delhi in 1974, representing the youth wing of the party. The following year, he was jailed for protesting the state of emergency imposed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and spent 19 months behind bars.

He served as Minister of Law of India and Minister of Navigation in the previous BJP government in the early 2000s, and also briefly oversaw defense and corporate affairs during Modi's first term.

"I've lost a valuable friend I've had the honor of knowing for decades," Modi tweeted on Saturday. "His perspective on issues and nuanced understanding of issues had very few parallels."


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