In response to the sharp criticism over the state of economy, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday presented government’s road map for the future, insisting that the country’s economy is on a strong wicket with sound macro-economic fundamentals. “Macroeconomic fundamentals are strong; the government has decided on the steps needed to sustain the growth momentum,” Jaitley said while addressing a press conference, which was also attended by revenue and finance secretaries.
The Finance Minister also maintained that India has been the fastest growing major economy for last three years, and that the attempt is to maintain high growth rate. He added that a lot of analysis has been done over the state of economy by the government and “steps are being taken to boost it”.
Giving a detail presentation of the road map, Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary of Department of Economic Affairs said the economy is turning around as the GDP growth slowdown has bottomed out. He said the inflation has consistently come down since 2014 and “it will not cross 4 per cent this year.
Garga also pointed out that the government is committed to maintain fiscal deficit at 3.2 per cent for current fiscal and that it will review the situation in December. He added that the government is confident of surpassing disinvestment target of Rs 72,500 crore for this fiscal.
Making an apparent jibe at the Opposition, Jaitley said, “those who were used to 2G scam and coal scam will have a lot of problems with legitimate tax.” His remarks come a day after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi termed Goods and Services Tax as ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’.
Stressing that there is a need to increase public investment, the Finance Minister said public sector banks have adequate lending capacity post demonetisation.
Subsequently, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa stated that total government expenditure so far this fiscal has been Rs 11.47 lakh crore out of Rs 21.46 lakh crore budgeted for this financial year. He also said 83,677 km of road will be built in the next five years.
With PTI inputs