Appropriate action to tackle economic slowdown soon: Jaitley

Arun Jaitley
Arun Jaitley

New Delhi : Acknowledging that private investment was short in coming, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said that the government will come out with “appropriate action” at the right time to boost the economy.

“From day one, this is a proactive government. We are analysing the economic indicators and appropriate action will be taken at right time. There is a problem of private investment. Government has seized the issue. Very soon you will hear from us,” he said here while addressing the second “India Investor Summit” organised by New York based banking and financial services company J.P. Morgan.

Jaitley had chaired a high-level meeting on September 19 to review the economic situation and discuss measures. The meeting was attended by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian and Secretaries in the Finance Ministry — Ashok Lavasa, Subhash Chandra Garg, Hasmukh Adhia, Rajiv Kumar and Neeraj Kumar Gupta.

The government is said to be considering a financial stimulus package following a sharp fall in latest key macro indicators such as the gross domestic product (GDP) and industrial production as well as a widening current account deficit.

Pulled down by sluggish manufacturing, growth in the Indian economy in the first quarter of this fiscal fell to 5.7 per cent, clocking the lowest GDP growth rate since Narendra Modi took power in May 2014.

Asserting that corruption in the central government had become a thing of the past, Jaitley said that this is happening in states as well.

“India’s confidence as a nation has increased tremendously in last few years,” he said.

He said remonetisation following demonetisation last year has been successfully completed. “There is positive mood towards digitisation. As far as black money, benami transactions, etc. are concerned, it is no more safe in India to deal in excessive cash.”

Speaking on bad loans of banks, he said, “Banks have done excessive lending in the past. Proposal of capital adequacy of the banks is also on the table.”

On divestment, Jaitley said that the government had an ambitious target in the current fiscal.

“Even today, we have Air India divestment meeting. In the last few years, the market was quite volatile at times, so the government had to wait for the right time for divestment. As far as divestment is concerned, we never had any reservations about privatisation,” he said.

Touching upon the issue of technical glitches under the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the Finance Minister advised the traders to file their returns four to five days in advance before the due date to avoid last minute problems.

As far as bringing more items under the GST is concerned, he said that real estate would be the most easy to bring in.

“So far we have been able to contain inflation impact post GST. Present government has taken quick decisions whether it is implementing GST or targeting subsidies are concerned,” he said.

On Universal Basic Income (UBI), the Finance Minister said that he was in favour of it personally but a level of political maturity was required.

As far as farm loan waiver by states is concerned, they have to find their own resources for this purpose, he said.



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