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We are on track for a $5 trillion economy: Nirmala Sitharaman

Times Network, India’s premium broadcast network, commenced its annual signature event, Times Network India Economic Conclave 2019 (IEC) in Mumbai today.

Themed, ‘$5 Trillion – Aspiration to Action’, day 1 of the two-day conclave witnessed a stellar line up of eminent policy makers, bankers, economists, CXO's and global thought leaders including Ravi Shankar Prasad - Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice, Piyush Goyal - Minister of Railways and Commerce, Injeti Srinivas - Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Pradeep Kharola - Secretary, Ministry of Aviation, TK Pandey - Secretary, DIPAM and  Durga Shankar Mishra - Secretary, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, Nassim Nicholas Taleb -  Scholar, Trader & Risk Expert, Mark Mobius - Founder, Mobius Capital Partners LLP and Rajan Anandan - MD, Sequoia India  amongst others,  sharing actionable strategies to rejuvenate the confidence of the world in India’s growth story against the backdrop of the on-going economic uncertainty.

MK Anand, MD & CEO, Times Network delivered the welcome address and Shaktikanta Das - RBI Governor set the context for the conclave with his keynote address on $5 Trillion - Aspiration to Action. Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs during a fireside chat reflected her thoughts on India’s momentum towards a $5 trillion economy.

Setting the context for India Economic Conclave, MK Anand, MD & CEO, TIMES NETWORK said, “Times Network is committed to India’s growth story and is invested in taking the nation’s $5 trillion agenda to its realizable conclusion. India Economic Conclave assumes significance at a time when the Economy is facing strong headwinds and it has become crucial for business and political stakeholders to work together to set the growth wagon back on rails. As leaders in news media that shapes the opinions of 70-80% key decision makers in the country, I believe it is our responsibility to ensure continuous dialogue between stakeholders who are levers of the nation’s economic engines. I’m confident IEC will build constructive, collaborative and actionable strategies that helps India achieve its real deserved status amongst global economies.”

Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs, "We are on track for a $5 trillion economy and my focus is to achieve this target. Government is making all efforts to boost economic growth and is hopeful that the GST revenue will pick up. In addition to this, the government is also working towards giving a push to schemes like MGNREGA and PM Kisan in order to put money into hands of the consumer. I am in constant touch with the industry and various sectors so that they can seek our intervention if needed. Both the centre and states are working together to augment revenue collection. With this, each state has taken lot of efforts to increase GST collection. I am positioning India on the background of challenges. It is not just about addressing difficulties, specifically those not pleasing. The stimulus is aimed at increasing consumption. The Finance Ministry has a pipeline of projects and everyone will receive funds accordingly. The Expenditure Secretary has a clear push to support the MSME’s and there is Rs. 61,000 crores due to MSME’s that will be paid in due course. Of the GST target of 663,000 crores, 60% is received. The GST council meeting is due in two days and we will discuss which direction it needs to take. The National Statistical Commission has several consultations and any misgivings on data will be addressed."

Ravi Shankar Prasad - Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice, “India has 120 Cr+ mobile phones and 124 Crore Aadhar cards as of today. I want India to become a big centre for data processing. We must balance both rights and privacy of the individual while it is the governments obligation to maintain safety and security. This year 64Billion US Dollar of FDI investment has been received, which is 6% more than previous year and the biggest component has been Telecom and IT. In 2014, we had only two mobile factories and now India is home to 268 mobile factories. Even Apple has started manufacturing in India”.

“Two crore Indians have been given their income tax refund worth one lakh twenty thousand crores in the last 2 to 3 months, Seventy one thousand crores of GST refund has taken place till 30th of November 2019. The income tax collection of India has increased from Rs. 6.5 lakh crore to cross Rs. 10 lakh crores. However, I do acknowledge because of global phenomena there are certain strains and we are trying to recover it, but the fundamentals of the Indian economy are strong, namely from the current account deficit, fiscal deficit. The world still looks at India as the most attractive destination. The start-up movement in India started seriously in 2015 and today India is home to 25 thousand start-ups, of which 8-9 thousand are technological start-ups. There is a new India emerging and this India is resurgent and confident”.

Sharing his comment on The Citizenship Amendment Act, he said, “CAB does not even remotely touch any   citizens living in India and it does not prevent any Indian including Muslims from pursuing their faith honestly and fairly”.

Piyush Goyal - Minister of Railways and Commerce, “In the last six months, I don’t think there’s been a single day when major policy decisions haven’t been taken which will impact the Indian economy. On one hand we are looking at how India is competitive and selling things and on the other hand we are also seeing where we have been hurt by indiscriminate or unfair trade practices that other countries engage in due to which we get underlining or low cost imports. We are looking at ways to support our export sector. We are also looking at countries which are not giving us reciprocal or fair-trading access to Indian products and are taking serious action against them both through negotiations and actions on ground. We are talking to industries both in India and internationally to see how the government can help in speeding up their investment plans. The government wants to engage and help in finding solutions. We are working along with the industry and various export councils to ensure how can we make stable policies. We ask industries to help us understand their problems to come up with solutions”.

Shaktikanta Das - RBI Governor, “It is imperative to have an informed and objective discussion on the economy.  Globally there needs to be coordination and action to boost growth. It is necessary for India to focus on manufacturing and be a part of the global value and supply chain. Spending on infrastructure by both central and state governments would be key for growth.  E-commerce and start-ups offer new opportunities. RBI’s focus is on growth and inflation and the underlining tone is financial stability”.

“Central bank acted ahead of time by lashing rates in February this year in order to control the growth slowdown. In the last Monetary Policy Committee meeting when we took a pause, markets were surprised however I was happy to learn that it was accepted by all and that we made the right decision. Also, the trade agreement between US and China looks favourable to push for global growth especially after the 2018 financial crisis", he further added.

The two-day India Economic Conclave that kick started today; December 16 will culminate on December 17, 2019. Times Network India Economic Conclave 2019 presented by IDFC First Bank, will be aired over a series of episodes on ET NOW, India’s leading English Business news channel.

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