A day after the government said the GDP growth had slowed down to just above six per cent in the January-March quarter, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, speaking on three years of the Modi government, said reforms introduced in the last three years helped in restoring the credibility of the economy.
Saying that India was nowhere on the global radar three years ago, Jaitley claimed the Modi government inherited a “weak” economy.
“Last three years were challenging for the entire world on economic front. Three years ago, there was slowdown in policy reform and structural changes in India. The system we inherited was weak in terms of credibility mainly due to corruption and indecisiveness,” he said.
Jaitley said the reforms introduced by the government has made it possible to curb corruption. “In the last three years, we have restored the credibility of the economy,” he said.
Reforms also ensured that India became the biggest recipient of FDI, he added.
On the slowdown in the GDP growth, Jaitley said: “There are several factors which affect GDP. Even before demonetisation, there was some slowdown. I do believe, that in the current global situation, a 7 to 8% growth which is at the moment an Indian normal, is a reasonable growth. I don’t see any adverse impact of the GST.”
Speaking on India’s exports, Jaitley cited the slowdown in global trade, “protectionism” and “geo-political uncertainties”
“Trade has decreased across the world and this has impacted exports,” Jaitley said.
On demonetisation, he said it helped quash the parallel economy in the country. “We set a new normal after demonetisation. It is no longer safe to deal in cash. We have shown decisiveness in policy making. Earlier, there was a parallel, shadow economy heavily depending on cash. We have ended that. There is now a greater focus on digitisation. The tax payers’ base has increased, post our reforms against black money,” he said.
The finance minister also charged the Opposition for spreading “propaganda” on employment figures.
“First there were allegations about lack of big bang reforms. Now the new allegation is about jobless growth. People need some issues for propaganda. Jobs don’t get created outside economic sector. If growth increases, jobs will also grow,” he said.
When asked about Pakistan targetting Indian forward posts across the LoC, Jaitley said: “In the past few days our armed forces have been dominating the LoC. Our efforts to reach out to Pakistan has been thwarted by them with responses such as Pathankot or Uri. So our overtures for peace have been successfully avoided by Pakistan.”