Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday said that the economy was currently growing at the fastest rate compared to other countries as the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals were quite strong, PTI reported. The home minister’s assessment came amid fears of an economic slowdown.

“In 2014, when the Narendra Modi government was formed, our economy was in a shambles,” Shah claimed during a convocation ceremony at Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar city. “But today, in 2019, I can say that our macroeconomic fundamentals are quite strong. Even today, India is the fastest-growing economy of the world with around 7% growth.”

Shah said that the government had managed to keep the inflation rate below 3% in the last five years while the fiscal deficit [between expenditure and revenue] was at 3.5%, down from 5%. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that India should become the third-most advanced country in terms of the economy and therefore the government would go ahead with micro planning, the home minister added.

He said that India’s aim to become a $5-trillion economy in the next five years cannot be achieved without contribution from the energy and petroleum sector. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while presenting the annual Budget in July, had said that India will become a $3-trillion economy in the current financial year. With some structural reforms, India would become a $5-trillion economy in the next few years, she had said.

There have been fears of an economic slowdown after India’s Gross Domestic Product growth rate touched a five-year low of 5.8% in the last quarter of 2018-’19. United States-based financial services company Moody’s last week downgraded India’s projected GDP Product growth rate to 6.2% for 2019-’20.

Last week, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a slew of measures to boost the economy, less than two months after presenting the Union Budget. The Reserve Bank of India had also announced last week that it will give the central government Rs 1.76 lakh crore of its dividend and surplus reserves.

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Modi made Kashmir inseparable part of India in ‘one go’: Shah

On the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Shah said that Modi had taken a firm decision and made the region an inseparable part of India in “one go”. The Centre on August 5 revoked the state’s special status and split it into two Union Territories.

Shah said that the prime minister “does not take decisions just to please people” but takes decisions that are “good for them”. The home minister also said that Modi had the courage to “pay the political price” for such a decision and had won the trust of citizens.

“For many years, India did not take decisive steps against terrorism. But, when the Uri attack happened, we conducted surgical strikes,” PTI quoted him as saying. “We gave a message that though we fully believe in peace, no one can play with our security. Similarly, we retaliated with airstrike after the Pulwama attack and conveyed that no one can play with our boundaries.”

Restrictions were imposed in Jammu and Kashmir from a day ahead of the August 5 declaration with several leaders being detained or put under house arrest soon after. Thousands of security personnel have been deployed in the state to control the law and order situation.

Communication networks were snapped and prohibitory orders are still in place in several areas of the state. Sporadic protests had also been reported from certain parts of the state, especially in the Kashmir Valley.

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