Calling India’s external situation as robust, Jaitley said that current account deficit declined from 18.4 billion US dollars in the first half of last year to 14.4 billion this year
GN Bureau | February 29, 2016
India’s growth of GDP has accelerated to 7.6 percent in the current financial year. Announcing this while presenting the general budget for 2016-17 in Lok Sabha, union finance minister Arun Jaitley said that this was achieved despite the contraction of global exports by 4.4 percent as compared to 7.7 percent growth in world exports during the last three years of the previous government.
He said that the global growth has slowed down from 3.4 percent in 2014 to 3.1 percent in 2015. Financial markets have been battered and the global trade had contracted. Amidst these global events, the Indian economy held its ground firmly, due to the inherent strengths and policies of the present government.
The finance minister also used the opportunity to highlight that while the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has hailed India as a “bright spot”, amidst a slowing global economy, the World Economic Forum has commented that India’s growth is “extraordinarily high”. He said that it could be achieved despite the NDA government inheriting an economy of low growth, high inflation and zero investor confidence in government’s capability to govern.
Jaitley further said that CPI inflation which was 9.4 percent during the last three years of the previous government had come down to 5.4 percent. This was accomplished despite monsoon shortfall of 13 percent for two consecutive years.
Calling India’s external situation as robust, Jaitley said that the current account deficit had declined from 18.4 billion US dollars in the first half of last year to 14.4 billion this year. He also said India’s foreign exchange reserves are at the highest level of about 350 billion of US dollars.
Jaitley pointed out three serious concerns facing the Indian economy. “Firstly, we must strengthen our firewalls against the risks of further global slowdown and turbulence by ensuring macroeconomic stability and prudent fiscal management. Secondly, since foreign markets are weak, we must rely on domestic demand and Indian markets to ensure that India’s growth does not slow down. And thirdly, we must continue with the pace of economic reforms and policy initiatives to change the lives of people for the better,” he said.
The finance minister said that the government has also to prioritise its expenditure for the financial year 2016-17 on account of the recommendations of 7th central pay commission and the implementation of defence OROP. He also said that the government will undertake three major schemes to help the weaker section of the society.
The pradhan mantri fasal bima yojana (PMFBY) will help to protect the farmers from the natural disasters. The farmer will pay a nominal amount of insurance premium and get the highest ever compensation the event of any loss suffered. A health insurance scheme to protect about one-third of India’s population against hospitalisation expenditure will also be announced. A new initiative to ensure BPL families are provided with cooking gas connection, supported by a government subsidy, will also be launched.
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