World economy & farm scene pose challenge to India: FM
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said that inflation has been brought under control in the past one year but global economy and agrarian situation as well as domestic investments pose challenge to the Indian economy. Addressing his second press conference in as many days to highlight achievements of Narendra Modi government in first year in office, Jaitley said that the “restlessness” of people for the economy to grow at a faster pace should put pressure on the Congress to shed anti-growth and anti-development agenda.
“In the past one year, inflation has been under control to a great extent.... The overall inflation situation has been much better than it has been in the past one decade,” he told reporters at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters here. While the decline in international oil and commodity prices have helped cool inflation, the Government too has taken steps to control food inflation, which has led to both wholesale and retail inflation coming down from a peak of 11 per cent, he observed.
Asked about the challenges facing the economy, the finance minister said that the global economic situation and domestic agrarian scenario are a challenge. “Domestic investment has to pick up, that is a challenge and even though on the economic front we have succeeded in some areas...these are three areas where there are challenges,” he said, adding the global economic situation was beyond the control of the government.
Listing out the initiatives of the Government, Jaitley said that financial inclusion and social security schemes have been a big success, with over 15 crore Jan Dhan accounts being opened and 7.5 crore people availing of life and accidental insurance cover under the Jan Suraksha and Jeevan Jyoti schemes. The Government, he said, wants to more than double the insurance coverage to 40-50 per cent in the near-term. With only 11 per cent of the population having pension plans, the Atal Pension Yojana wants to “make India into a far bigger pensioned society”.
“If India grows by 7.5 per cent, India should never be satisfied. We have to aspire for more and this aspiration and restlessness of the people should be a pressure on parties, especially the Congress, which have adopted an anti-growth and anti development agenda,” Jaitley noted.
Wholesale inflation dropped to a record low of (-)2.65 per cent while retail inflation was at a four-year low of 4.87 per cent in April.