Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today shrugged off questions on the GDP growth declining to 5 per cent in the first quarter, saying the ups and down are part of the growth process and the government is responding to the current economic challenges to revive demand and consumption in the country.
Speaking at a press conference in Chennai, Sitharaman said a dip in the GDP is part of the growth cycle and the government is conscious that it has to respond.
“It’s not that government is not responding with measures to boost GDP. A dip in GDP is part of growth. Our full focus is now on how GDP can rise in the next quarter,” she said.
“We will try to frontload infra spending as much as possible,” she said, adding: “We are taking steps to increase consumer confidence in market.”
She said the government is working on a few steps for the auto component industry. “Government is conscious on the need to respond to the slowdown in the auto sector,” she said.
The Finance Minister also said the government will respond soon to the demands of home buyers.
“Government response on home buyers will be sooner than later”, she said.
On the falling GST revenues, Sitaharaman said collections need more attention and the government needs to widen the tax basket
On the recently announced bank mergers, she said the effective dates of mergers are to be decided by the individual bank boards.
“Banks grappling with low credit offtake. We are taking steps to boost consumer confidence in the market,” she said.
The government recently set up a task force, headed by the Economic Affairs Secretary, to draw up a ‘National Infrastructure Pipeline’ of Rs 100 lakh crore. In the July Budget, the government had announced Rs 100 lakh crore investment in infra sector for the next 5 years.
According to her, the task force is in the process of identifying the infrastructure projects to be funded, as well as expedited, and the Central government will start funding infrastructure projects once it submits its report.