India needs strong and decisive leadership at the Centre to promote growth, get rid of poverty and transform the country into a developed nation, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Tuesday.
With general elections due early next year, Jaitley said the country does not need an ‘unstable coalition’ government and individuals who lack understanding of policies at the helm.
Swift decision-making of the Modi government has helped in handling the IL&FS crisis, Jaitley said while addressing the 98th annual session of Assocham.
“Today, what India needs is not individuals with lack of understanding of policies, lack of understanding of directions or inherently unstable coalition, but a government and leadership with absolute clarity about the direction,” Jaitley said.
He said a “strong and decisive leadership at the Centre” is needed to maintain India’s high growth trajectory, increase revenue and build better infrastructure.
“India needs a government and leadership which has absolute clarity about the direction so that this unique position which IMF refers to as a sweet spot in the world, this sweet spot we continue to occupy for next two decades. If you are able to do that, we can get rid of the curse of poverty and in our lifetime probably see India as a developed country,” he said.
Indian economy grew at 8.2 per cent in the April-June quarter of the current fiscal. It grew at 6.7 per cent in 2017-18 fiscal.
“You need a decisive government, you need a government which has a coherent policy and is absolutely clear in the direction you have to move, and you need a government which is not dependent on those who would try to pull the government down by their strategies,” Jaitley said in his video conference address.
He said a weak leadership at the Centre could not have handled the IL&FS issue the way the present government did. “A crisis in the making was handled with swiftness”.
Debt-ridden IL&FS and its group companies have defaulted on loan repayments, following which the government, earlier this month, superseded its Board by appointing eminent banker Uday Kotak as its Chairman.
Outlining the challenges, Jaitley said global oil prices have risen on account of “artificial shortages” and for India, being a net buyer of oil, any rise in global crude prices adversely impacts the country.
“Therefore we have to face that challenge by making our economy so resilient itself that we have the capacity to bear that challenge,” he added.
Stating that domestic policies of certain countries have spillover effects on India, Jaitley hoped that such effects will not be everlasting and are transient in character.
“As a fast growing economy, we have the capacity to face these challenges,” he said.