Centre’s efforts helped country to achieve highest economic growth rate: Nirmala Sitharaman

During debate in Rajya Sabha, Finance Minister says India continuously maintaining momentum of being the fastest-growing economy

Published - December 07, 2023 10:38 pm IST - New Delhi

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks in the Rajya Sabha during the Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on December 7, 2023.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks in the Rajya Sabha during the Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on December 7, 2023. | Photo Credit: ANI

Replying to a three-day debate on the state of the country’s economy in Rajya Sabha on December 7, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman countered the charges of the Opposition and said the Centre has addressed issues of inflation, unemployment, and inequality. Ms. Sitharaman said India registered the highest growth rate in the world in the second quarter of this financial year.

In her 90-minute reply, she said the second-quarter growth was very high, it is the highest globally and the country is now the second most sought-after manufacturing destination in the world. “We continuously maintain that momentum of being the fastest-growing economy,” Ms. Sitharaman said. She added that all sectors of the economy are growing significantly.

Countering the charges that the growth in the manufacturing sector is negative, she said through schemes such as Make in India, the manufacturing sector is also significantly contributing to the economy and its share to the GDP is 13.9%. “The Purchasing Managers Index [PMI] in November was 56. It is in the expansionary territory, so sustained growth is indicative of the growth,” she added. Buttressing the arguments of BJP members during the debate, she said while all developed countries are struggling with a decreasing manufacturing output, India is moving forward.

She reiterated the points raised by BJP MPs and said the country is the fifth largest economy now after nine years of Narendra Modi government. “The activities are all across the economy. It’s not as if one sector is doing well... All sectors are growing and growing significantly for us to notice it,” she added.

On tax collection and distribution of revenues, she said direct tax collection grew by 21.82% till November 9 and GST collections touched ₹ 1.6 lakh crore pointing to steady economic growth. On unemployment, she said the rate of unemployment declined to 10% from 17.8% in 2017-18 due to various measures taken by her government. She said 13.5 crore people have come out of ‘multi-dimensional’ poverty in the last five years. On curbing inflation, she said the Centre has taken a slew of measures and the consumer price index (CPI) came down to 4%.

On the third day of discussions too, the BJP members and the Opposition members portrayed different pictures of the economy. Opposition members argued that the human development indices are at a historic low during the regime of Mr. Modi. The BJP countered it by showing the electoral victories of the party recently and claimed it was possible through structured interventions in the economy. They also argued that maintaining law and order and ensuring security have increased investments to the country.

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