Vadodara: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said the NDA government would now focus on large- scale investment in the infrastructure sector and rural areas, adding the Indian economy is set for a higher growth trajectory on the back of a slew of structural reforms.
“I think, we should be looking forward to a much higher growth trajectory (for India) in the days to come.
“Our government has carried out structural reforms at the right time. Demonetisation and GST were carried out keeping in mind their long-term benefits to the economy,” Jaitley said.
Reversing the five quarters of slowing GDP growth, Indian economy expanded by 6.3 per cent in July-September on the back of a pick-up in manufacturing.
The gross domestic product growth had hit a three-year low of 5.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2017-18. It was 7.5 per cent in the September quarter of 2016-17.
Jaitley was speaking last night at an event organised to mark the golden jubilee celebration of the local branch of the Western India Regional Council of the Chartered Accountants Association of India (ICAI). Representatives from trade and industry bodies attended the meet.
He said the upgraded global growth projections should be a further help to India’s own GDP rate expansion.
The finance minister also took on the critics of note- ban and GST.
“The fundamental question is: Does India continue to indefinitely be a cash-dominated economy? To say it’s a very risky proposition, it will have adverse consequences for a quarter or two, so let’s not attempt it? Can India say, you will have de-stocking, so let’s not attempt GST?,” he asked.
Jaitley said while the Congress dithered, the BJP took bold decisions.
“The BJP simply did what the Congress couldn’t while they were in power. Attacking black money was never a priority for the Congress. So their concern (about demonetisation) is natural. And GST was a Congress move. But since (the Congress) party is an opportunist, it is opposing it,” he said.
Jaitley said the BJP stayed away from populism.
“Populism is what we did not indulge in. We could have let people live in a cash-dominated economy and let India continue to have a shadow economy and have everyone really prosper on that basis. (But) we struck a blow to that kind of an economy. That’s not populism. That was the right economic policy to follow.”
He said key measures like scrapping high-value currency notes and rolling out GST, a landmark indirect tax reform, won global appreciation.
“There is a global appreciation of the fact that India has the capacity and courage to carry out structural reforms like demonetisation and GST,” Jaitley said.
Positive responses and statements about the Indian economy from influential international bodies like the World Bank, the IMF and Moody’s had “increased the confidence of India”, he noted.