Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has expressed optimism that Indian economy will touch double figures soon. He cited various economic reforms brought in by Modi-led Union government and some policy changes along with a good monsoon as the basis for his optimism. Jaitley, who is on a 10-day visit to US was speaking at an event in Washington.
“This (10 per cent growth rate) is reasonably possible. That is where India’s potential is,” Arun Jaitley said at an event organised by American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a top US think-tank.
However, his optimism may be put to test with Indian Met Department already forecasting “deficient” monsoon this year.
The Finance Minister further claimed that India’s 7 plus per cent growth rate came at the backdrop of a “terrible” monsoon last year and a second round of crop destruction in March this year. Anticipating better monsoon this year, he said agriculture would do better and add to the economy.
“Now with a lot more money being invested in infrastructure and governments even conducting their fiscal policy in order to help the manufacturing sector, there is a significant growth possible as far as this area is concerned,” he said.
Talking on the GDP, he said Goods and Services Tax (GST) has the potential to add at least one per cent to the GDP of India, adding that last year, India grew by 7.3 per cent in terms of GDP.
“If we are able to sustain it for a couple of years, then I think, we will be able to have direct benefits as far as India is concerned, more jobs, better economy and hopefully over the next 10 years or so deplete the poverty levels in the segments that are more impacted by it,” the Union Finance Minister said giving an overview of his government’s economic policies.
Once the impact of policy changes made by the new Indian government and investments in key areas like infrastructure, agriculture and industry is felt, Jaitley said, “I think there could be a significant growth”.
He also spoke on the controversial Land Bill, saying, “The Land Bill is a difficult challenge…I think, we will have to fight it out and explain the benefits of the land bill because it is intended for the development of India’s rural areas”.
Talking of Prime Minister Modi’s flagship ‘Make in India’ initiative leading to a fillip in manufacturing sector, Arun Jaitley claimed that India’s manufacturing sector “is going to up” significantly. He also cited the new policy of coal mine auction and steps to boost up small scale industries in the rural areas leading to great results.
Among the senior most cabinet ministers of NDA government, Arun Jaitley also cited the various social programmes run by his government, including the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ producing “great results”.
(With inputs from the PTI)