Indian economy set for strong farm-led revival, says Finance Minister Niramala Sitharaman

Sitharaman said businesses were gaining traction due to the Rs 20 lakh crore economic stimulus package, also known as the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.

ANI
Govt is closely monitoring high-frequency indicators. We have kept all the options necessary absolutely open… interventions can happen even in the future, Sitharaman said.
New Delhi: The Indian economy is set for a strong revival on the back of agriculture and allied sectors that are boosting the rural sector, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said. The government is closely monitoring the economy and is open to further interventions if warranted, she said.

India is opening up all its sectors to investment, keeping public sector presence minimal, mandatory only in predetermined, strategic sectors, she said at the virtual India Ideas Summit organised by the US-India Business Council.

“Every sector is a private sector… every sphere is open for private investments,” Sitharaman said on Tuesday, adding that the government was closely monitoring high-frequency indicators. “We have kept all the options necessary absolutely open… interventions can happen even in the future.”


Many of the measures announced earlier are yielding results now, she said.

“The several things which have been done have now borne fruit that I can confidently tell you that we are able to see green shoots,” she said, pointing to higher power consumption, toll collections, digital banking transactions and improvements in the purchase managers’ index (PMI).

‘Not Shutting Doors to Imports’
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Sitharaman said businesses were gaining traction due to the Rs 20 lakh crore economic stimulus package, also known as the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.

Activities related to the rural economy, including tractor sales, agricultural tool sales and logistics related to the food sector among others were “all up and about”, she said. Close synchronisation among the financial sector, regulators and monitoring of indicators could drive the recovery trend. “If they all work together, very good strong recovery is only there for us,” she said.

As for this fiscal year’s economic performance, “There have been different speculations about the extent economies will contract… but I can see the revival of the economy, particularly if you look at India’s rural areas, agriculture,” the minister said.

Ratings agency ICRA has revised its forecast for FY21 to 9.5% contraction from 5% earlier, citing lockdowns in some states affecting the economic recovery seen in June.

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Asked whether the government will allow companies to continue to use digital measures, such as mandated meetings through video conferencing, digital signatures, etc, beyond the pandemic to improve efficiency, Sitharaman said the government could consider this as systems could be run without glitches. Policy predictability, transparency, greater level of policy consistency and ensuring that there were no “flip-flips” is top of the mind for the government so that no disruptions are caused to existing and new investors, the minister said.
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