Economy looking up, says Jaitley

The minister assured the members that a positive impact of the reforms like GST and demonetisation would get reflected in the medium to long term.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday that key economic indicators were showing an upward swing.

Mr. Jaitley assured the members that a positive impact of the bold reforms like the Goods and Services Tax and demonetisation would get reflected in the medium to long term.

However, the Congress attacked the BJP government over what it termed a “gasping” economy.

It pointed to increasing unemployment as a bad sign.

Opposition members also raised the issues of farmer suicides and the demonetisation’s impact on small industries.

During a short-duration discussion on the state of the economy, Mr. Jaitley said: “All the steps we have taken, we have also paid a price [for them] in the short term. But, I want to tell you that in the medium and long term, these steps would be seen as positive on the economy of the country and coming generations will remember that due to these steps a new economic history of the country has been written.”

Mr. Jaitley listed GST rollout, demonetisation, containing of inflation and recapitalisation of public sector banks as major policy decisions under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He said it was a good sign that even though, the country’s economy grew at a rate of 7-8%, people aspired for more.

He said the growth was maintained despite the fact that there were droughts in two of the three-and-half years of the NDA government.

On the issue of recapitalisation, Mr. Jaitley said it was not an ideal situation. But, the decision had to be taken to ensure that the bank system remained robust enough to fuel economic growth.

He said the “reckless” lending in the past did not take care of risk management.

Responding to the charge that GST had badly hit small-scale and medium industries, the Finance Minister said the government had levied just 1% on businesses with ₹1 crore turnover, the lowest in the world.

Earlier, Deputy Leader of Opposition and Congress leader Anand Sharma said under the current government, there was a continuous decline in the economic parameters.

“There is not even one engine of growth which is actually running,” he said.