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Economy reviving, but GDP growth to be negative or near zero this fiscal: FM

New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said there were visible signs of revival in the economy but the GDP growth may be in the negative zone or near zero in the current fiscal.

She said the economy saw a contraction in the April-June quarter, but demand has picked up in the festival season.

Speaking at the India Energy Forum of CERAWeek, she said infrastructure, fintech and all employment generating and asset creating industries would be priority sectors for the government.

Sitharaman further said recent data indicates revival in the economy, with PMI number being the highest since 2012.

"Which sort of indicates that the revival is there which is going to be steady and sustainable revival. If that sustainable revival is going to happen between quarter three and quarter four, we expect that the overall GDP growth... (is) going to be in the negative or near zero this time," she said.

India will regain the tag of the fastest growing major economy next year, she asserted.

The Indian economy had contracted by a huge 23.9 per cent in the April-June quarter, hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

Sitharaman said a "very firm lockdown" was imposed beginning March 25, with the government putting lives before livelihood to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

"We had a contraction which happened during the first quarter and post which the unlocking has been steadily happening and we can see the revival now...," she said.

The finance minister further said indicators show that primary sector, agriculture-related segments and rural India are all doing very well.

"Demand for durable goods, agriculture equipments, tractors, vehicles are all going up. Festival season has commenced in India, as a result of which I expect demand go up and be sustainable also," she emphasised.

High-frequency economic indicators show continued improvement both in month-on-month (MoM) and year-on-year (YoY) terms.

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