File photo of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley arriving at Parliament to present the Union Budget 2017-18 in the Lok Sabha. (Photographer: Vijay Verma/PTI)

India Fastest Growing Major Economy; Trend To Continue For Some Years, Says Jaitley

Union Minister Arun Jaitley has said 7.7 percent economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2017-18 ‘firmly’ established India as the fastest growing major economy in the world and the trend is likely to continue for some years.

Taking a dig at the critics of the government, Jaitley said neither has India’s gross domestic product declined by 2 percent on account of demonetisation and the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax, nor will it live in poverty as predicted by the former finance minister.

“With structural reforms like demonetisation, the implementation of GST and the enforcement of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, we had two challenging quarters. Those who predicted a 2 percent decline in GDP growth have been conclusively proved wrong,” he said in a Facebook post.

“A distinguished predecessor of mine feared that he may have to live his future in poverty. We have enabled every Indian to be a part of the world’s fastest growing economy. The future looks much brighter than the past. This trend is likely to continue for some years,” he added.

The fourth quarter results of GDP data showed a phenomenal 7.7 percent growth rate and has established India firmly as the fastest-growing global economy. This trend, according to experts, is likely to continue for the next few years.
Arun Jaitley, Union Minister

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had predicted that GDP would decline by 2 percent on account of demonetisation, while former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha had said policies of the Narendra Modi government will make people poorer.

Also read: GST Can Ruin Lives If Mistakes Continue, Says Yashwant Sinha

Observing that another former finance minister had suggested that the government should cut the tax on oil by Rs 25 a litre, Jaitley said: He never endeavoured to do so himself. This is a ‘trap’ suggestion. It is intended to push India into an unmanageable debt—something which the previous United Progressive Alliance government left as its legacy.

“We must remember that the economy and the markets reward structural reforms, fiscal prudence, and macro-economic stability. They punish fiscal indiscipline and irresponsibility. The transformation from UPA’s ‘policy paralysis’ to the NDA’s ‘ fastest growing economy’ conclusively demonstrates this”.

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram last week claimed that it was possible for the Centre to cut tax up to Rs 25 a litre on petrol prices but the Modi government will not do so.

Also read: Government Can Reduce Petrol Price Up To Rs 25 But Won’t, Says Chidambaram

The former finance minister had also said the BJP government pushed people into poverty and the number of people below poverty line has gone up than what was during the UPA regime.