The government is holding talks with the US administration over the H1-B visa issue and also working with the industries, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today.
“On H-1B visa (concerns), the government is in close touch with those industries which have a stake and which need to be assisted during this transitional phase. We are doing that and are constantly in touch with those industries,” Sitharaman said during an interactive session with Young Ficci Ladies Organisation (YFLO) Hyderabad Committee members here.
The Commerce and the Foreign secretaries went to the US and had initial talks. The 2018 H1-B visa details have been issued and there is no change in US position and the numbers remain largely the same, she said.
From among those who get visas and send people to the US, India still is the largest which needs to be kept in mind, the Minister added.
She said the government is working with Nasscom and also the IT industry and taking their inputs.
“The industry also acknowledges that while we are going to the US there are lot of US companies coming to India and are investing for the past several years and many of them are expanding. As much as we are worried about our people going, they are worried about investments coming to India.
“It may be in our case talking only about H1-B and for them it’s question of do we have enough protection in India for our investments?” Sitharaman said.
To a query on the goods and services tax (GST), she said, it is a happy occasion that the GST Bill got passed in the Parliament with everybody’s support.
“The point is we had to make the beginning somewhere and you can’t wait for that perfect GST. The core issues are will we have one taxation? Now we are talking about indirect taxation. Will we have that one indirect taxation in this country?” she asked.
She also wondered whether GST rates should be so wide ranging just because each state decides to have a different rate of taxation.
To another query, she said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s emphasis on ‘Make in India’ is aimed at filling the gap in manufacturing in the country.