Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed that the country needs strong leadership at the Centre, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley echoed his sentiment when he said India needs a decisive leader who could deliver economic growth and satisfy the country’s aspirations. Taking a dig at the alliances being forged ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Jaitley added, “The country does not need an unworkable alliance with a maverick leadership.”
At a time when the Industrial Production (IIP) plummeted to an 18-month low, Jaitley hailed the economy saying the fiscal discipline during the past five years has been amongst the best as compared to any preceding period. In a blog titled ‘Political stability, decisive leadership and a clear mandate – their relationship with growth’ Jaitley wrote, “India today is the fastest-growing major economy in the world. Still, we are not satisfied with a 7 to 7.5 per cent growth rate. We are increasingly becoming impatient and want to break the 8 per cent barrier.”
Now that the Union Budget 2019 is just around the corner, Jaitley will present the current dispensation’s final budget in the upcoming budget session before the country gears up for elections. “When Prime Minister Modi came to power, India was the tenth largest economy in GDP terms in the world. Presently, the fifth, sixth and seventh economies namely the United Kingdom, France, and India are within a very narrow range. A marginal fluctuation of currency values alters the size of the economies. India, of course, is projected to grow next year at 7.5%. This will conclusively ensure that India, at the end of the next Financial Year, could possibly be the fifth largest economy in the world,” Jaitley added.
Under Modi, Jaitley said India recorded a growth rate of 7.3 per cent during 2014-15 to 2018-19 as against 6.9 per cent in UPA 1 and 6.7 per cent in UPA 2. Also, the inflation too during the five-year period remained at a low of 4.6 per cent as against 5.7 per cent in UPA 1 and 10.1 per cent in UPA 2.
At present, Jaitley is in the US for a medical check-up. He had a kidney transplant last year, PTI reported quoting sources.