Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Maintains Optimism in India’s Growth Story at 7–7.5%, Despite Adverse Global Headwinds

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Maintains Optimism in India’s Growth Story at 7–7.5%, Despite Adverse Global Headwinds

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The Growth Net Summit(L to R) Naushad Forbes, Co-Chairman Forbes Marshall and President Designate Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) India, Jamshyd N Godrej, Chairman of the Board, Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Company Limited and Chairman, Ananta Centre, India, Mr. Arun Jaitley, Minister of Finance, Government of India, N K Singh, Chairman, Steering Committee, The Growth Net; Senior Member, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Former Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, India and Claude Smadja, President, Smadja & Smadja Strategic Advisory, Switzerland at the opening plenary session “The Indian economy’s place in the world” of The Growth Net 2016 Summit at The Taj Palace, Delhi

New Delhi, Delhi, India

The Growth Net Summit, in its fourth edition, started on a high note in New Delhi today with Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley exuding confidence that India will be able to maintain the growth level of 7-7.5%, despite challenges in the global economy.

In his remarks at the opening plenary session, Jaitley said that India is a high growth market and the government is conscious of the restrictions of global environment in which it is functioning. The two-day global economic conclave is being jointly organized by the Ananta Centre, Smadja & Smadja Strategic Advisory and Confederation of Indian Industry. The Growth Net is a unique platform on and for the emerging markets, addressing common opportunities and challenges. This year’s edition brings together stake holders from 39 countries.

Mr. Jaitley also expressed optimism about India’s growth story and explained the steps taken by the government to reform the economy. “Direct Tax reforms, legislative reforms in sectors like coal mining and insurance are some of the many. The government is also trying to modify a large number of rules to address the sectoral problems. We are addressing each sector one by one. We will start seeing the impact of these incremental reforms,” he said. Several sectors like banking, civil aviation, broadcasting, and others have already been opened.

The Growth Net Summit
Mr. Arun Jaitley, Minister of Finance, Government of India at the opening plenary session of The Growth Net 2016 Summit

“The low oil price is the silver-lining for the Indian economy. Basic macroeconomics indices seem to be at a reasonable level, interest rate movement is in the right direction, several factors are contributing to this,” he said adding that most states are also doing reasonably well. The Centre remains committed towards creating a facilitative environment for a better investment climate in every corner of India. New growth centers are emerging throughout the country like Noida and Gandhi Nagar, amongst others.

Hon’ble Finance Minister also said that the central government has enhanced its public spending and is able to maintain strength in the economy. International investors find India to be a good destination, and there is huge improvement in our FDI flow into the country. “All these factors taken together, with increased spending on infrastructure, the possibility seems likely that we will be able to maintain the 7+ % growth rate that we have maintained in the last two years. The Indian economy have been able to show a considerable level of resilience.”

He also went on to call upon the industry to share innovative ideas for a public-private partnership on reforms calling for greater participation.

“The highways which were completely paralyzed have significantly improved, most of the states have come forward and signed MOUs.”

On non-performing assets of the banks, he said that the Reserve Bank of India is looking at the extent of NPA. “The losses that occur in the business environment are sometimes cyclical, loans that were given without due diligence are the problem areas. As the global economy improves you will see an improvement in the balance sheet of the banks,” he said.

“The government is conscious of the limitations that it is operating in, global headwinds are certainly not very supportive, most economies are facing their own challenges but the Indian economy is well prepared for uncertainties.”

On the delay in pushing major reforms in Parliament, Jaitley said, “The reform agendas have never been abandoned, even if delayed, legislations are always passed. I have faith in the parliamentary system. The government is determined to go ahead with them.”  He expressed the confidence that the government will be able to arrive at a reasonable conclusion with the Congress party on GST.

Industry leaders and speakers on the session included Mr. Naushad Forbes, President Designate, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) & Co-chairman of Forbes Marshall, India, Mr. Jamshyd Godrej, Chairman, Ananta Centre, India and Chairman of the Board, Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Company Ltd, Mr. N.K. Singh, Chairman, Steering Committee, The Growth Net Summit, and former Member of Rajya Sabha, India.

Responding to the question from audience, Mr. Jaitley highlighted that India’s role in the world economic arena is on a trajectory and the world is looking at how India can play a far more significant role in the coming decades towards creating a new world economic order.

He emphasized that India has been able to make an impact in low-cost services across many parts of the world. An important change that has taken place is the new confidence in India’s negotiations in world trade. Now the world can see India as a key player which has led to increased trade with several countries across the globe.

In his concluding remarks for a high energy and richly attended session, Mr. N. K. Singh appreciated the government’s efforts to maintain the growth trajectory of the economy. He also said incremental reforms alter the growth trajectory of the country, with deep and lasting impact sometimes even more than a singular startling reform.

About Growth Net

Jointly convened by the Ananta Centre and Smadja & Smadja Strategic Advisory, The Growth Net which was launched in 2013 reflects the new realities created by the emergence of a group of new growth countries which are rapidly increasing their business, economic, trade and financial interaction and aspire to have a stronger voice in the global economy. It is a catalyst to develop a fruitful dialogue among business leaders, government officials and the civil society from the countries of the new constellation of growth on how to strengthen economic momentum and generate new sources of growth through the deepening of partnership strategies for rapid sustainable development in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

About Ananta Centre

An independent and not-for-profit organization Ananta Centre is registered under the Indian Trust Act. It focuses on leadership development and encourages frank and open dialogue on the most important issues facing Indian society, to help foster its transformation. The Centre also engages civil society, business, governments and other key stakeholders on issues of importance to India’s development, foreign policy, strategic affairs and national security. The Centre serves as a convening body for exchange of ideas, broadening perspectives and enhancing capacity to create sustainable solutions on a wide variety of issues.

About Smadja & Smadja Strategic Advisory

Smadja & Smadja was established in 2001 in Switzerland and in the US. The firm works with global corporations and government entities on global trends and strategic issues. Our mission is to help our clients navigate and leverage globalization, providing them with “actionable” insights and a “world view” to help them manage the increasing volatility and complexity of a globalized world. The firm creates platforms of contents – from strategic, behind closed doors, seminars to high profile international conferences – that are knowledge and networking intensive, with significant take home value for the participants. Smadja & Smadja has activities, clients and partners in Asia, North America, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

About CII

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is a non-government, not-for-profit, industry-led and industry-managed organization, playing a proactive role in India’s development process. Founded in 1895, India’s premier business association has around 8000 members, from the private as well as public sectors, including SMEs and MNCs, and an indirect membership of over 200,000 enterprises from around 240 national and regional sectoral industry bodies. CII works to create and sustain an environment conducive to the development of India, partnering industry, Government, and civil society, through advisory and consultative processes.