On Friday, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that India remains among the fastest-growing economies across the world and taking efforts to make it grow faster. 

The IMF (International Monetary Fund) has projected a reduced growth rate for India, but its economy is “still growing as the fastest”, said Ms. Sitharaman. 

Nirmal Sitharaman visited Washington to attend the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. She has stated that she is “certainly not risking a comparison” with China, even though both the nation’s growth rates have been projected at 6.1 percent in the latest IMF data. 

Ms. Sitharaman continued, “The IMF (in its latest projections) reduces the growth (rate) for all the global economies. It reduces the growth of India too. But even with that, India is still growing as the fastest growing economy.”

Besides the country’s real growth rate of 6.8 percent in 2018, the IMF in its latest World Economic Outlook has projected India’s growth rate at 6.1 percent for 2019 and noted that the country’s economy is likely to grow at 7 percent in 2020. 

With all that being considered, “the point cannot be missed that India is still growing the fastest” in the detailed global scenario, claims the Indian Finance Minister.  

Mr. Sitharaman continued, “I wish it can be more. I wish it can grow faster. I’ll make every effort to make it grow faster. But the fact remains that it is still growing faster,” adding that “it’s one of the fastest-growing economies too. But that’s not going to make me complacent.”

Considering a few things about the economy are sentiment-driven, Ms. Sitharaman has said so obviously the narrative is “it is not growing as much as it used to grow earlier.”

She further said, “It’s not eight. It’s not seven. It’s come down to six and so on. Yes, all these are very important. But I don’t want to underestimate the potential that India is showing even in this adverse circumstance.”

Nirmala Sitharaman continued at this stage that she is “not looking at how long,” but anticipating she is looking at green-shots. She also said that it’s “my duty to hear every sector and respond as much as they would want us to respond from the government side.”

She also states, “So, my business is now just to go on listening and making sure that the grievances or their demands are addressed.”

When enquired if the slowdown of the country’s economy is structural or cyclical, Ms. Sitharaman was quoted saying, “I’m not getting into that at this stage. I don’t have the luxury of sitting and looking at which way it is going.”

“On the contrary, I have all the time to know what people want me to do and (I) respond to them accordingly,” she added. 

When enquired if the central government is still on track to continue the fiscal deficit target to 3.3 percent of the GDP, Ms. Sitharama replied: “Fiscal deficit, I am not reviewing it now.”

She also said, “At this stage, I do not want to allow that to worry me. I’m more keen on getting to addressing the issues which industry wants me to address.”

Ms. Sitharama has said that “you will get to know if there is any,” when enquired whether there is a move to lower personal income tax.

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