New Delhi: Congress on Friday rejected as "imaginary hairsplitting" suggestions of a difference in the approach of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and that of former Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee over economic reforms saying they are "work in progress" and "initiated" by Mukherjee.

"The attempt to show a difference in their approaches is not only unnecessary but illogical. I am denying it absolutely and explicitly. Reforms are a work in progress. "Former Finance Minister had initiated these reforms but it takes some time to fructify these in our system. Imaginary hairsplitting and contrived difference, which is sought to be made here, is not only unnecessary but also inappropriate," party spokesperson Manish Tewari told reporters here.

After Pranab Mukherjee, the UPA Presidential nominee resigned from the Finance Ministry on June 26, the Prime Minister is holding the charge and some of the steps taken in the last two three days have prompted speculation of a difference in the approaches of Mukherjee and Singh towards the economy.

Asked about Finance Ministry's proposal in its draft guidelines on Friday to set a monetary limit for invoking the controversial General Anti-Tax Avoidance Rules (GAAR), Tewari advocated patience saying, "Let us allow certain things to fructify" before jumping to opinions.

To address investor concerns over taxation issues, the draft guidelines also proposed setting up a three-member Approving Panel to decide whether a particular case would attract the provisions of the GAAR.

The GAAR provisions were proposed by Mukherjee in his budget to prevent tax evasion. The provisions, however, invoked sharp criticism from the foreign and domestic investors, following which the government constituted a high-level committee to look into their concerns.

A party leader speaking on the condition of anonymity said each person has his "autonmous" way of working and that the difference in the economic situation now requires such measures for revival of industrial growth.


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