NEW DELHI: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said that there were visible signs of recovery but India’s gross domestic product (GDP) might be in negative zone or near zero in the current fiscal in wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at the India Energy Forum of CERAWeek, the finance minister said that with unlock, the Indian economy has started showing signs of revival and by next year it will be one of the fastest growing economies of the world.
“India’s economic revival will be steady and sustainable. Festive season will further spur the economy, rekindling hopes of growth in third and fourth quarters,” she noted.
The Indian economy had contracted by a huge 23.9 per cent in the April-June quarter, hit by the Covid-19 crisis.
Defending the Centre’s move to impose nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Sitharaman noted that the government put lives before livelihood. The lockdown also gave time to do preparatory work to deal with the pandemic, she added.
Referring to the Nikkei Manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index, Nirmala Sitharaman said economic activity had picked up in the country after the easing of pandemic restrictions and helped by various government measures.
“Unlocking is happening steadily after the GDP contraction seen in Q1. We can witness revival particularly in PMI which shows highest spurt since 2012,” she noted.
India’s factory activity expanded at its fastest pace in over eight years in September, a survey compiled by IHS Markit showed.
The finance minister further said indicators show that primary sector, agriculture-related segments and rural India are all doing very well.
“Demand for durable goods, agriculture equipments, tractors, vehicles are all going up. Festival season has commenced in India, as a result of which I expect demand go up and be sustainable also,” she emphasised.
Sitharaman further said India is continuing with its policies to attract foreign investment in terms of lower taxation and ease of doing business.
(With agency inputs)