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Economy on ‘upward curve’; monsoon, GST to push growth: Arun Jaitley

India's new Finance and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley speaks dur

Tokyo: With India retaining the fastest growing large economy tag post latest GDP numbers, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the country is on an “upward curve” and a good monsoon, GST passage and increased infra and rural spending will further accelerate the growth.

With pro-growth policies helping gross domestic product grow a faster-than-expected 7.9 per cent in January-March quarter and 7.6 per cent in the entire 2015-16 fiscal, he asserted that these are not “stray figures” and an analysis of the pattern shows inherent strength in the economy.

Also aiding was the growth in output of eight core sectors growing 8.5 per cent in April on the back of pick up in output of refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity.

“Last two years, a number of factors were loaded against us – there was a global slowdown and we had two consecutive below normal monsoon rainfalls,” he said, adding that people are surprised how India has managed to grow at the fastest pace in the world.

Going forward, “reform process is going to continue. Hopefully, Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill is passed (in ensuing monsoon session of Parliament), which has the potential to add to GDP growth. Also, our infrastructure and rural spending will add to that,” he said commenting on the latest GDP numbers.

On the forecast of a good monsoon this year, Jaitley said it “would mean an increase in agriculture production, more purchasing power and rural demand.”

On the growth clocked in 2015-16, Jaitley—who is on a six-day investor wooing tour of Japan—said, there was improvement in the agriculture as well as the services sector. “More importantly, there is a consumer demand and there is increased consumer spending,” he added.

The GDP expansion in January-March period bettered 7.2 per cent of December quarter and helped extend the lead over China, which grew 6.7 per cent in the March quarter – the slowest in the world’s second largest economy in seven years.

Earlier speaking at a meeting organised by Japan-India Business Cooperation Committee, he said investors looking for higher returns should park funds in India’s infrastructure and manufacturing sectors.

“As growth would return to the world, consumer spending would pick up, hopefully the monsoons would be better, this trend which has been set in India itself could be improved upon. That we are on an upward curve seems evident,” he said.


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