NEW DELHI :
FINANCE Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said the economy is not in trouble and green shoot are visible with the country moving towards a USD 5 trillion economy. Listing initiatives taken by the Government, she said, increasing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), rise in factory output and over Rs 1 lakh crore GST collection in the past three months are indications of green shoots in the economy.
“There are seven important indicators which show that there are green shoots in the economy...Economy is not in trouble,” she said while replying to a debate on the Union Budget in Lok Sabha. Referring to visible indicators of green shoots, the Finance Minister said the forex reserve is at an all time high and the stock market is upbeat. She said the Government’s focus is on four engines of growth which include private investment, exports, private and public consumption. With regard to public investment, she said, the Government in December announced a National Infrastructure Pipeline. It envisages investment of Rs 1.03 lakh crore for infrastructure development across the country in the next four years (till 2024-25), she said. To boost consumption, the Government has increased the Minimum Support Price of all mandated Rabi and Kharif crops for 2019-20. She further said the fiscal deficit was higher during the UPA regime “when the economy was managed by competent doctors.”
The Minister was referring to remarks of Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Monday that the “economy was perilously close to collapse and was being attended by incompetent doctors.” FM HITS BACK AT CHIDAMBARAM: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday targeted Congress leader P Chidambaram for his remarks that ‘incompetent doctors’ in the Government were managing the economy. “Harsh truths will have to be heard,” she said while comparing fiscal deficit and primary deficit figures during the UPA regime and during the BJP-led NDA Government.
Replying to a debate on the Union Budget in Lok Sabha, Sitharaman said the fiscal deficit was 6.1 per cent in 2008-09, 6.6 per cent in 2009-10, 4.9 per cent in 2010-11, 4.9 per cent in 2012-13 and 4.5 per cent in 2013-14. “When we talk of fiscal deficit, (we) understand the economy was managed by very competent doctors,” she said. Sitharaman had said in her Budget speech on February 1 that fiscal deficit was 3.8 per cent in 2019-20 and had been targeted at 3.5 per cent for 2020-21. Referring to the primary deficit, she said it had been below one per cent during the Modi Government but higher during the Congress-led UPA Government.
“You could not come to one per cent, and could not think of coming below one per cent,” said the Finance Minister. On Monday, Chidambaram during his speech in Rajya Sabha had taken a jibe at the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Government over its handling of the economy, saying, “the patient is still being kept outside the ICU and being looked after by incompetent doctors.” “Every competent doctor that you have appointed has left the country,” the former Finance Minister had said.