Indian economy has seen off the worst: Modi

New Delhi, Sep 2 (IANS) Following the release of India’s Q1 growth figures earlier this week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said India’s economy had overcome a difficult phase, and added that sluggish private investments were a legacy from the time of the previous UPA government.

In an interview to Network 18 channel, Modi said India’s economy has “seen off the worst” and the government “didn’t want to take shortcuts to give it an artificial sugar rush”.

He also noted that sluggish private investments were a “continuing blowback from before the time he took office”.

“Today I think, before presenting the first Budget, I should have placed a White Paper in parliament on the economic situation in the country. I had two paths. Politics told me that I should put out all the details,” the Prime Minister said.

“But the nation’s interest told me that this information would increase the hopelessness. The markets would have been badly hit. It would have been a big blow to the economy and the world’s view of India would have got worse. All these issues from the past have impacted private investment,” he said.

“Despite that … the pace at which roads are being made, railways is expanding. There’s a six-fold increase in electronic goods manufacturing. These things show we haven’t taken shortcuts. We don’t want to take any short cuts and the results are showing,” Modi added.

He said that it is the common man who is at the centre of the strategy of “reform to transform”.

“How to make life easier for the common man, how they will get what is their right, we want to stress on these,” the Prime Minister said.

Data from the Central Statistics Office earlier this week showed India’s gross domestic product (GDP) slowed to 7.1 per cent for the first quarter of this fiscal, from 7.5 per cent in the same period of 2015-16, mainly owing to lower activity in farm, mining and construction sectors, even as India Inc. said the numbers reflected a moderation of growth impulses.

The country’s growth rate of 7.6 per cent during the previous full fiscal had made India the fastest expanding major economy globally, overtaking China.

Gross fixed capital formation — a monetary measure of activities like building of infrastructure, schools, hospitals and investments in plant and machinery — fell to 29.6 per cent of GDP from 32.7 per cent in the previous year.

Commenting on the data, industry body Assocham said that the estimate of GDP at constant price signals “moderate slow down in the economic growth”, as compared to the same quarter of 2015.

“Policy actions and initiatives taken by government and RBI have had marginal positive effects on economic growth in India and have helped in restoring the economic stability in India against global economy which is volatile and weak,” Assocham Secretary General D.S. Rawat said.

“Private consumption remained the mainstay of the modest acceleration in real GDP growth, as in 2014-15 and 2015-16, while fixed investment and exports are missing drivers due to new business orders slowing and weak external demand, respectively,” he added.

–IANS

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