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Government in process of changing India's economic environment: Jaitley

New Delhi: Acknowledging the dip in the country's growth rate, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said that the government was in the process of undertaking measures to change the "environment" and provide a boost to the Indian economy.

"The growth rate has been fine except in the last quarter, where there has been a little dip in the GDP growth rate. During April-June, services sector improved, but manufacturing brought it (growth) down," he told reporters at the ongoing BJP National Executive Meet.

Pulled down by sluggish manufacturing, growth in the Indian economy in the first quarter of this fiscal fell to 5.7 per cent, clocking the lowest GDP growth rate since Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office in May 2014.

"Whatever steps are required to change the environment we are certainly in the process of addressing them," Jaitley added.

The Finance Minister said that the "environment" was a result of three factors.

"This (low growth rate is due to three factors - (low) investment by private sector, which is also related to the ability of banks to support growth. Since GST (Goods and Service Tax) was announced to be rolled out from July 1, de-stocking took place in June and July. It resulted in higher sales, so services in fact went up," he said.

The government is said to be considering a financial stimulus package following a sharp fall in latest key macro indicators such as the gross domestic product (GDP) and industrial production as well as a widening current account deficit.

On September 19, Jaitley had chaired a high-level meeting to review the economic situation and possibly discuss a financial stimulus package as the remedy for falling growth rate. The meeting was attended by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian and Secretaries in the Finance Ministry -- Ashok Lavasa, Subhash Chandra Garg, Hasmukh Adhia, Rajiv Kumar and Neeraj Kumar Gupta.

Those at receiving end of anti-graft drive are uneasy: Jaitley

New Delhi:Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday hit out at the opposition Congress for its criticism of the government on demonetisation, saying those at the receiving end of the war against corruption would be "uneasy" with the steps being taken.

"It is obvious that any action against corruption and black money will never be supported by that political party (Congress). In three years, our government has taken steps after steps. Obviously those who are at the receiving end of the steps are going to be uneasy about the steps we are taking. I don't expect them to support our steps," he said at a media briefing on the sidelines of the BJP National Executive meeting here.

Jaitley was replying to a question about former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram's tweet that the BJP National Executive's support to demonetisation is utter contempt of public opinion.

"I completely disagree with them (Chidambaram's views). Our analysis of demonetisation is completely different from theirs," he said.

Jaitley lashed out at the Congress saying when it was in power between 2004 and 2014 it had not taken a single step against black money.

"Corruption and elimination of black money was never part of the political and economic thinking of the UPA."


Shah slams Rahul Gandhi over politics of dynasty, appeasement

New Delhi:Coming down heavily on Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, BJP President Amit Shah on Monday said his party totally opposes politics of dynasty and appeasement and only believed in politics of performance.

In his presidential address to the BJP National Executive meeting, attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cabinet ministers, MPs, MLAs and state unit chiefs, among others, Shah said the government was working towards ending the suffering of the people of the country and fighting corruption and terrorism.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, who briefed the media on Shah's closed-door address to hundreds of members of the BJP National Executive here, said the party President accused Gandhi of hurting the dignity of the nation by saying that dynastic politics was the way in India.
"The BJP rejects the politics of dynasty and appeasement. Condemning Gandhi's statement, the BJP President said the party believed in politics of performance and not appeasement or dynasty," Goyal said citing Shah.
"The Congress and Rahul Gandhi, both disapprove of the politics of performance but the BJP will continue to work for the country on the basis of such politics," Shah said.
Shah said it has always been the case of "good governance and performance" in the BJP that helped its leaders to reach where they are today.
He said President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan -- all BJP leaders -- had reached their position due to their hard work despite their humble backgrounds.
Shah questioned Gandhi over scams during the UPA regime which he said were to the tune of Rs 12 lakh crore.
"What did he do against his corrupt government. They (Congress) kept the nation poor, deprived of development. Why did Rahul Gandhi allow the policy of appeasement to grow," Shah asked.
Goyal sarcastically said Gandhi's leadership was of the BJP's interest.
"We welcome political competitiveness. Rahul Gandhi in active politics is in favour of the BJP. We wish that he continues leading the Congress. The longer Gandhi practices his politics it's better for BJP."
Amid concerns over slowing economic growth, Shah lauded the government's efforts to boost the economy and hailed its actions like demonetisation and introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Shah said fundamental changes in the economy would make India a world leader.
"What was the state of economy in 2014? This was acknowledged by many well-known economists. Fiscal deficit was around 4.9 percent, Current Account Deficit was around five percent, rate of inflation was close to double-digit figures and growth rate was about 4 to 4.5 per cent down.
"The value of rupee was also dropping. There was a policy paralysis," Shah said.
He praised every aspect of the current economy and appreciated Modi for that.
"At present, the way our government has successfully dealt with the economy could be understood by the fact that fiscal deficit has come down to 3.5 percent, Current Account Deficit is 0.6 per cent, inflation three per cent from double-digits," Shah said.
Shah spoke of demonetisation and GST, saying that there was now an environment in the country that the government was strictly dealing with black money.
"In the past three years, there has been no time when a terrorist is not killed. Now the terrorists are running for cover and security forces have dominance," Shah said.
The BJP President also discussed the recent stand-off with China in Doklam near Sikkim and said India displayed its perseverance and decisiveness to the entire world.
Shah lauded External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's speech to the United Nations General Assembly in which she attacked Pakistan as the land of terror.

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