Press Trust of india

India set to reach $3 trn eco this fiscal; need structural reforms to be $5 trn: FM

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New Delhi, Jul 5 :  India is set to become USD 3 trillion economy in the current fiscal, and structural reforms are needed to reach USD 5 trillion in next few years, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in the Union Budget 2019-20 Friday.

Presenting the first Budget of the Modi government in its second term, she said the Indian economy, which stood at USD 1.85 trillion five years back, has reached USD 2.7 trillion now, and is within capacity to reach USD 5 trillion in the next few years.

"The Indian economy will grow to become a 3 trillion dollar economy in the current year. It is now the sixth largest in the world. Five years ago, it was at the 11th position. In Purchasing Power Parity terms, we are in fact, the 3rd largest economy already, only next to China and the USA.

To attain USD 5 trillion economy and more, India needs to continue undertaking many structural reforms, Sitharaman said in her first ever Budget presentation.

The minister said the government in the last five years brought about many big reforms in particular, in indirect taxation, bankruptcy and real estate.

"While these reforms were happening here in the Parliament, the common man's life was being changed through Mudra loans to help him do his business, and through several programmes it was being ensured that his/her kitchen become smokeless, his/her house got electricity connection and women's dignity was respected with the provision of toilets in homes," she said.

The common man was served even as major transformational reforms were being rolled out.

"And for this to continue, we need to invest heavily in infrastructure, in digital economy and on job creation in small and medium firms.

"It took over 55 years for the Indian economy to reach 1 trillion dollar but when the country and her people's hearts are filled with aasha, vishwas and aakansha that is, when hearts are filled with hope, trust and aspirations, we, in 5 years, added 1 trillion dollar. Today we are nearing a 3 trillion dollar level," she said.

The minister said the target of reaching a USD 5 trillion economy is eminently achievable on the back of hard labour of the people of the country.

"...their goals of human pursuit filled with their inherent desire to progress led by the dedicated leadership present in this House, the target is eminently achievable," the finance minister said.

She also recognised that India's private sector industries, be it small, medium or large, have played a substantial role in growing the economy.

"I recall the words of an eminent industry leader, who said that his company's growth has always aligned itself with India's growth, before and post-independence. So if before-independence, India Inc understood 'Swadeshi', today they understand 'Make in India'.

"We do not look down upon legitimate profit-earning. Gone are the days of policy paralysis and license-quota-control regimes. India Inc is India's job-creator. They are the nation's wealth-creators," Sitharaman said.

The minister said, together, with mutual trust, India can gain, catalyse fast and attain sustained national growth.

"I wish to propose a number of initiatives as part of a framework for kick-starting the virtuous cycle of domestic and foreign investments," she said in her speech.

Sitharaman discards briefcase, carries 'bahi-khata' for budget

New Delhi, Jul 5: Giving an Indian touch to the Budgetary exercise, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Friday carried the Budget documents to Parliament in a red bag, reminiscent of the traditional 'bahi-khata' (ledger).

Earlier, finance ministers in different governments used a briefcase to carry budget documents, a practice considered as a British tradition.

"I thought it was better we move out from British handhold. And I thought it was good enough to do something on our own. It was easier for me to carry also and very Indian," she said in the customary briefing post Budget presentation.

Sitharaman, the first full-time woman finance minister of the country, carried the budget documents draped in a red silk cloth with national emblem.

During the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, the then finance minister Yashwant Sinha broke the one colonial tradition of budget presentation at 5 pm.

Since then all governments have been presenting the budget at 11 am.

Bahi-khata is referred to books of account maintained by traditional Indian businessmen.

Commenting on the shift from a briefcase to bahi-khata, Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian said the government is following "Indian tradition".

"It is in Indian tradition. It symbolises our departure from slavery of Western thought. It is not a Budget, but a Bahi-Khata (ledger)," he added.

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