Not averse to more stimulus: Nirmala Sitharaman
Eastern Times,New Delhi: The Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that the government is willing to give more fiscal stimulus to boost the economy.
The Indian economy has been badly hit by the corona virus pandemic and the subsequent 54-day lockdown. Government data show the first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) of 2020-21 has contracted by 23.9%. This is the first time India’s GDP has shrunk in nearly four decades.
Sitharaman, however, is hopeful that the economy will recover quickly on the back of the Rs 20 lakh crore Atmanirbhar package announced in May this year.
The finance minister claims that the rural economy is back on its feet thanks to the direct transfer of money to farmers. In fact agriculture is the only sector that grew (by 3.4%) in Q1 FY21.Nabard has an extra Rs 45,000 crore to lend to farmers ahead of the rabi sowing season. The passage of three farm bills in Parliament in the monsoon session will also boost farm income, according to her.
Sitharaman said that green shoots are emerging in the economy. With reports of migrant labourers returning, sectors such as steel and textiles are inching towards pre-Covid capacities.
Sectors such as hospitality, and travel and tourism that have taken a massive hit because of the pandemic are slowly limping back as more states are unlocking. With the festival season round the corner these sectors will see more economic activity.
A rise in Goods and Services Tax (GST) collection in states is also a positive sign that the economy is on the mend, Sitharaman said.