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FM says hasn't closed option of one more stimulus to perk up demand

RIL chairman Ambani says manufacturing has to be rethought and reinvented

Economic stimulus | Indian Economy | Indian economic growth

Dilasha Seth & Indivjal Dhasmana  |  New Delhi 

Nirmala sitharaman, Finance minister
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Amid the festival season, finance minister on Monday did not rule out one more stimulus to perk up demand in the economy.

"I have not closed the option for another stimulus. Every time we have announced one, it is after a lot of consultations with various sections of society and then we work with ministries, the PMO and then take a final call. Yes, I have not closed the option to come out with one more stimulus," Sitharaman said to a query on that stimulus measures announced by the government had a fiscal cost of just 1.2 per cent of India's gross domestic product.

At a virtual function to release the autobiography of 15th finance commission chairman N K Singh, titled 'Portraits of Power: Half a Century of Being at Ringside', she said more sectors needed to open up for the private sector.

"I see the realisation of that happening soon. There should be clear cut mention of how the has to be. We have to shift from the socialistic baggage we are carrying that are becoming more burdensome, Sitharaman said. She was responding to a query that if wishes were horses, what would be her wish.

The finance minister had announced to come out with a public sector enterprise policy which will throw open all the non-strategic sectors for the private sector. Even in the strategic sector, only four public sector enterprises at most would be there.

The policy has still not been announced five months after the government's intention was made public. But, the finance minister had stated that it would soon be sent to the Cabinet.

More sectors need to be open for the private sector. I see the realisation of that happening soon.

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Talking about her wish, she further said federalism in India has to be a lot more robust. "It is sometimes very conveniently positioned by theoreticians that is going to threaten Indian democracy. Federalism is needed to make our country stronger. We need greater robustness in federal engagement as even if one state is left behind, it can slowdown India’s growth potential," she said.

She said the education system needs to catch up with all needs of youth. "Training, competences and learning cannot be kept differently," she said about her third wish.

To a query that when will the finance ministry come out its projections for the economic growth for 2020-21, she said,"We have started doing some assessment of growth and the targets now. Perhaps, we will have to come up with a statement, whether in public or in Parliament. The finance ministry will indeed have to do some assessment, but I can talk about it, only when I am ready."

Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani said the country has to rethink and reinvent manufacturing.

"We have to think of things we can do to strengthen our small and medium sector and support small and medium entrepreneurs. (We) need to think in terms of the eco system for future industry and services. We are on track as far as batteries and solar is concerned," he said in response to a query on manufacturing by R C Bhargava, the chairman of Maruti Suzuki.

He lauded the second generation reforms undertaken by the government.

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"Now we have been bold in doing reforms in education, labour and agriculture. These will form the basis for our future growth.I see the realisation of that happening soon," he said.

When asked what he wanted to be remembered as, Ambani said it is not about him, but about his contribution to society. He said he wanted to transform India into a digital society in all the future industries, to have linkages in the education system, move the country away from fossil fuels to clean energy.

"I don't know whether I will succeed or not," he said.

Singapore senior minister and coordinating minister for social policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam said India's challenges exceed those of most societies. Covid and the way global economy is shaping up has thrown up great opportunities for India, he said

He said the recent reforms by the government and the production linked schemes are steps in the right direction, but implementation is the key. The Singapore minister called upon India to keep ideological predilections aside and focus on outcomes.

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First Published: Mon, October 19 2020. 20:28 IST