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Steps taken by Centre during pandemic helped economy recover, says MoS Anurag Thakur


Steps taken by the government during the pandemic have helped the economy recover, and the country is expected to clock double-digit growth in the next fiscal, said Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Singh Thakur in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. The government will spend Rs 1.97 lakh crore on production-linked incentive (PLI) and has identified more than 10 sectors to be included, which would in turn create job opportunities for the youth, he said.

The minister said people who are raising apprehension about the recovery of the economy should see GST collections of the past few months.

“People are raising questions about the coming times. But, if you look at the past six months, the steps that we took during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as putting money into the hands of people, helped the business class.”

“The GST collection rose, which was over Rs 1.10 lakh crore in the last five year. This was because of the policy adopted by our government,” said Thakur.

Experts have said that India will have a V-shaped recovery, but the IMF data shows that India would have an 11.5 per cent growth in the financial year 2021-22, he added.

“Moody’s has predicted a 12 per cent growth in the next year. OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) has said that growth would be 12.6 per cent,” he said.

He said this while replying to the debate over appropriation Bills for Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Puducherry for the financial year 2021-22.

On the public sector undertakings, the minister said no one can deny about their contribution.

“But, with the passage of time, several things have changed,” he said adding that disinvestment has been the policy of every government and even the previous government had tried this.

The government has a clear and transparent policy in this regard.

“We have brought schemes as PLI in mobile manufacturing. Earlier, India had only two mobile manufacturing industry and within five years, we have become the second-largest mobile manufacturer of the world,” he said.

“We are trying to bring more such projects to provide more employment opportunities,” he said.

During the lockdown, ministries such as finance and home were working continuously and had tried to ensure that there is no scarcity of food and money, he said.

“India was the only country where 80 core people were given free food for almost eight months,” the minister added.

While talking about the ongoing farmers’ protests over the minimum support price (MSP) issue, the minister said people participating in this are getting exposed.

“We have tried to lessen the debt of FCI (Food Corporation of India) and strengthen BSNL. We tried to strengthen the government institutions,” he said.

Taking a dig at the Congress, he said it had left the banking system into a staggering state, and this government has recapitalised them with Rs 4.38 lakh crore.

“We have done asset quality review and our government has continuously tried to reduce the gross NPA (non-performing assets),” he said adding that it has brought 11 banks out of 12 in profits.

“The inflation rate in those five years was in double digits between 9 and 14 per cent. Now, in our term of 2014-19, it was an average of 4.4 per cent,” he said adding, “We have reduced the fiscal deficit to 3.5 per cent.”

He also said that last year was an extraordinary year and people took some loans also but they did not face any shortage of food.

India has a foreign exchange (forex) reserve of $ 298 billion and has now got double to $ 590 billion in the next five-six years. “You have left India as 11th largest economy and we have made it at number six under the leadership of (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi,” he said.

He also said the government is now constructing over two-three times more roads than the previous one.

For fertiliser, the government has returned Rs 64,592 crore to companies, so that the farmers get fertilisers on time next time.

While talking about the scheme as MGNREGA, the minister said the government has raised the daily wages to Rs 210 and spends over Rs 1.10 lakh crore on this.

The government is working on textiles parks, which would create jobs opportunities, and is also setting up bulk drug parks for the production of API, to reduce its dependence on China.

“We are focusing on self-reliance,” he said.

During the debate, BJP MPs Sanjay Seth and Shwait Malik also participated.

While, Narain Das Gupta of AAP said that in the Budget 2021-22, the allocation for Delhi was even lesser than small cities such as Chandigarh, and said that it was getting “step-motherly treatment” from the Centre.

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