Inflation is not a ‘red-lettered’ priority now for the government given that it has been brought down to a ‘manageable level’ over the past two months and job creation and equitable distribution of wealth were instead the key priorities as of now, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Wednesday.
“I am not sure I can have the luxury of sequencing priorities, several things will have to happen simultaneously,” Ms. Sitharaman said, speaking at the U.S. India Business Council’s annual general meeting titled ‘India Ideas Summit’.
“Of course, some are red-lettered and some others may not be,” she replied when queried by Nasdaq executive vice-chairman Ed Knight on the top policy priorities for India and how their implementation may be sequenced.
“The red-lettered ones will definitely be jobs, equitable wealth distribution and making sure that India is still moving on the path of growth. In that sense, Inflation is not red-lettered, I hope that we have shown in the last couple of months we were able to bring it to some manageable level,” she explained.
Retail inflation in India moderated to 6.71% in July, from an eight-year high of 7.79% in April. Ms. Sitharaman exuded confidence that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which is ‘fairly clued in’ to global developments arising from the steps taken by the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, would be able to handle the monetary policy challenges ‘without major blips and rise and falls’.
The revival of the economy, she said, had largely been helped by the government as it followed the right kind of policies, executed quick reforms and ensured there was ‘hand holding’ for targeted sectors, instead of splurging or printing money.
Asserting that India’s economy was now the fifth largest in the world and would ‘soon’ be the third largest, the minister said that India and the United States could account for 30% of the global economy if the two worked together over the next 20 years to become an engine of global growth.