Union Finance Ministry on Tuesday presented an optimistic picture on the state of economy, insisting that the Indian economy remains on a strong wicket with sound macro-economic fundamentals. Addressing a press conference, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stated that India has been the fastest growing major economy for the last three years and that the attempt is to maintain high growth rate in coming years.
Here are the top developments from the Finance Ministry’s presser:
*Jaitley said the government has decided on the steps necessary to sustain the growth momentum. Stressing on the need to increase public investment, the Finance Minister said that the public sector banks have adequate lending capacity after demonetisation.
*Economic Affairs Secretary S C Garg, in a presentation made at the briefing, said inflation has consistently come down since 2014 and will not cross 4 per cent this fiscal. He also pointed out that current account deficit will be less than 2 per cent this year and that the foreign exchange reserves have crossed USD 400 billion.
*Commenting on fiscal deficit, Garg said the government is committed to sticking to the target of 3.2 per cent of GDP for the current fiscal but added that a review would be done in December. Claiming that the real GDP growth average is 7.5 per cent in last three years, Garg said transformational reforms have been another part of the India growth story.
*Pointing out that the GDP growth slowdown has bottomed out and the economy is turning around, Garg said the International Monetary Fund had recently projected that the country would achieve a 8 per cent growth rate soon.
*DEA secretary Garg also said the government is confident of surpassing the disinvestment target of Rs 72,500 crore for this fiscal and listed GST and demonetisation as the biggest economic reforms undertaken by the present dispensation.
*Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar said an aggressive Rs 2.11 lakh crore capital infusion for the NPA hit public sector banks will be made over a period of two years. Out of this, Rs 1.35 lakh crore will be through the recapitalisation bonds, while remaining Rs 76,000 crore from the budgetary support.
*Jaitley further said the capital infusion would be accompanied by series of banking reforms which would be spelt out in the next few months.
*Finance Ministry also announced a road building programme, known as BharatMala, under which 34,800 kms of roads will be constructed. Prioritising national security, the government aims to strengthen border road connectivity. The government also listed out plans for increasing rural road connectivity and universal affordable housing.
*Taking potshots at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for describing GST as ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’, Jaitley said those who are used to monumental scams in 2G spectrum and coal allocation will have objections to legitimate tax.
With PTI inputs