Green shoots visible, govt open to take more steps: FM

NEW DELHI: Asserting that green shoots are visible, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday assured the industry that the government is open to taking more actions in future to boost economic recovery.
Speaking at the 2020 India Ideas Summit, the minister said that the Rs 20.97 lakh crore stimulus package announced by the government to fight the economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic was having a positive impact on the ground on various sectors including on MSMEs.
Indian industry together with the government will ensure a good speedy and sustainable recovery post unlock, the minister said.
“The green shoots are (visible) based on high frequency indicators…we will watch them as we go along. It’s not as if we concluded that the economy has green shoots and therefore we will not take any more steps.
“We have kept all options absolutely open. The government is willing to participate with everybody and see what the best has to be done. Interventions can happen even in the future depending on how the industry responds,” Sitharaman said.
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Indicators show “green shoots” in the economy with electricity and fuel consumption, inter and intra-state movement of goods, PMI data and retail financial transactions witnessing a pick-up, she said.
She said there was revival of the economy particularly in the rural area with good rabi harvest and expected bumper kharif production.
“We can see the agriculture sector clearly driving the revival. Activities related to rural economy whether it is tractor sales or logistics are all up and above…we are at stage if we all work together — government, regulators and financial sector, a very good strong recovery is before us,” she said.
She clarified that the Aatmanirbhar Bharat is not an inward looking idea and does not shut doors for exports and imports.
“We want India to be strong. We want India to be speaking from a position of strength particularly from an economic point of view,” she said.
With regard to opening of sectors for private players, the finance minister said private players have been allowed in every segment of the economy to promote competition.
Even in the declared strategic sector, she said there will not be more than four public sector enterprises along with private sector companies.
“So there will not be any economic activity in India which will be in the exclusive domain of public sector undertaking,” she said.
With regard to reforms, she said, the government has undertaken many long pending structural reforms during the pandemic.
Many big time structural reforms have all been made…Even when the challenge of the pandemic was before us, we ensured that we use this opportunity to come up with some of the major structural reforms, which have waited for decades,” she added.

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