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India at world’s centre stage but can do better: Jaitley

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India is at the world’s centre stage more than ever before for “aspiring to do better in an adverse” environment, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said but cautioned that by its own yardstick, the country’s current growth rate is not enough.

“More than even before we are at the centre stage. That you would have to admit. But, I would put a caveat. India has become far more aspirational than ever before. So compared to the rest of the world, we are doing much better. Compared to our own yardstick, we feel, this is not enough,” Jaitley told Indian reporters at a news conference here.

“We can do still better, which in a sense is not a bad thing to happen. To be restless, to be impatient is a sign of wanting to do better,” said the Minister, who is leading the high-power Indian delegation to the annual fall meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

“For the rest of the world whereas we aspire to do better in this adverse environment, they consider it extremely impressive. So there is a lot of global buzz around India,” he said.

As per the latest forecast by the IMF and the World Bank, India is projected to grow at 7.6 per cent in the next two years, which makes it the world’s fastest growing emerging economy.

“I think, with the kind of economic activities and investments that we have planned over the next several years it (growth) is not likely to go down,” Jaitley said in response to a question.

And it might have an impact only if unforeseen events do not happen, he said.

“I think with the kind of investments, both domestic and international, that we are getting, a reasonable amount of growth will always be there. If growth returns to the world, then you would probably move up. Structural reforms like GST can only add to that,” Jaitley said.

Noting that the world is moving slowly, the Finance Minister said nobody seems to be sure how long this situation would continue.

There is no specific global response, even though there are generalities to fight the situation.

“In India, we have to learn to live in an environment where the world is going to move slowly. And the world is not going to be very supportive of growth. The global environment is not very supportive of growth,” he said.

Since India is growing much faster, as compared to the rest of the world, it has become natural recipient of a higher level of FDI, he added.

PTI

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