Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said green shoots were visible in the Indian economy, and dismissed the Opposition’s concerns about Gross Domestic Product growth slowing down, PTI reported. She made the remarks in the Lok Sabha during a debate on the Union Budget.
Sitharaman spoke about the steps taken by the Narendra Modi government to promote foreign direct investment, consumption, exports, and job creation. “There are seven important indicators which show that there are green shoots in the economy...economy is not in trouble,” the finance minister claimed.
The minister said the “green shoots” were improvements in foreign inflows, industrial performance, forex reserves, performance of the stock markets, and tax collections under the Goods and Services Tax.
“Global sentiments are in favour of India and India continues to attract foreign investment,” Sitharaman said. She added that the country received foreign direct investments worth $24.4 billion (Rs 1.73 lakh crore) from April to November 2019 compared to $21.2 billion 1.5 lakh crore) in the corresponding period in 2018.
The Indian economy grew just 4.5% in the second quarter of the 2019-’20 financial year, the slowest in six years. The government has forecast an annual growth rate of just 5% for the current financial year, the slowest in 11 years. In the last few months, core sectors such as automobiles and manufacturing have progressively slowed down because of weakened consumer demand and dearth of investments.
In the Rajya Sabha, Sitharaman took a dig at Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram while referring to the fiscal deficit numbers during the United Progressive Alliance’s regime. “The FDI ran out of the country in 2012-’13 under competent doctors overseeing the economy,” she added.
On Monday, Chidambaram had said the economy was being attended by “very incompetent doctors”. He also slammed the finance minister, saying the Budget did not have proposals to revive demand. Sitharaman said there was more sarcasm than content in Chidambaram’s criticism. “We are certainly predisposed about not repeating mistakes of UPA,” she added.