Replying to a short duration discussion in the Rajya Sabha on the economic situation of the country, the Finance Minister said, several measures like recapitalization of banks, GST reforms and policy decisions have been taken to augment economy.
She added that 32 steps have been initiated for MSMEs, banks among others. She said, two lakh 50 thousand crore rupees have been allocated to the public sector banks to ease the liquidity in the market.
Mrs. Sitharaman said, the growth has no doubt slowed down, but the government is aware of the challenges.
She said, in comparison to the UPA regime, this government has done well on several economic parameters. Presenting the comparative data, she informed the House that India's real GDP growth was recorded 7.5 per cent during the period of 2014-19 whereas the growth was 6.4 per cent during the UPA-2 regime in 2009-2014.
She further said, to address the twin balance sheet problem, the government has implemented 4 R strategy which are recognition, recapitalization, resolution and reform.
The Minister said, GST council has reduced the GST rates of 400 goods which are benefitting the common people. She said, GST rates of about 90 per cent items have been brought down from 28 per cent slab to 18 to 12 per cent.
In a scathing attack on the Congress, she said, in 1991, Congress opened the economy and now they are raising questions over the reform measures of this government.
On the GST issue, Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, CPI and TMC started sloganeering and walked out of the Rajya Sabha. Over this issue, the Minister said, the reply is based on the facts but the opposition members are not ready to listen to the viewpoint of the government.
Participating in the debate, Congress leader Anand Sharma blamed the government’s wrong policies and decisions for the ongoing economic slowdown. He said, major parameters of the economy are showing red signals. Mr. Sharma said, manufacturing and unorganized sector are facing difficulties due to demonetization.
He rejected the government claim that economic slowdown is cyclical and listed out several factors which are showing alarming situation. Besides, he said, the unemployment rate is on an all-time high.
Ashwini Vaishnav of BJP said, the government has taken several measures to revive the economy and country will soon have a solid growth rate. Derek O'Brien of TMC said that hasty implementation of GST and lack of trust of the investors have slowed the economy.
He urged the government to focus on job creation and restore the confidence of the people and investors in the economy.
Ravi Verma of Samajwadi Party and K. Keshav Rao of TRS also expressed concern over the present economic situation and urged the government to work on the front of employment generation. Elamaram Kareem of CPI (M) termed the situation as a systematic crisis of capitalism.
He said, until domestic demand is increased the economy cannot be revived. He also questioned the government move to reduce the corporate tax.
T.K.S Elangovan of DMK alleged that development is not the priority of the government as it is more concerned about religious issues. On the other hand, Vijay Sai Reddy of YSR Congress accused the previous UPA government of the current economic situation.