Rahul Gandhi pledges to cut business red tape

NEW DELHI (Reuters): The leader of India’s main opposition Congress party, Rahul Gandhi, said on Thursday he would relax rules for new businesses and provide tax incentives to firms for creating jobs if he came to power, as he looks to woo young voters days ahead of a national election.

New businesses would not require any government permissions in the first three years of operations, Gandhi said in a tweet addressed to “youngsters”, adding that a government under him would also remove taxes on investors in new businesses and make bank loans easier. He didn’t provide further details.

The announcement is the latest in a slew of promises made by Gandhi to lure voters away from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In recent weeks the Congress has promised to increase healthcare and education spending and provide a minimum income guarantee to the poor, though some critics have questioned the lack of detail on implementation of such schemes.

The BJP, which is projected by pollsters to have an advantage over Gandhi’s party since Indian armed forces clashed with Pakistan in recent weeks, has dismissed the Congress plans as political gimmicks.

Gandhi on Thursday said his government would also provide “solid incentives” and tax credits based on the number of jobs new businesses create.

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