Arun Jaitley Hints At Stimulus Package To Revive Economy: 10 Key Points

Asked about the possibility of a cut in excise duties on petroleum products, he said government needed money for public spending.

Arun Jaitley Hints At Stimulus Package To Revive Economy: 10 Key Points

Mr Jaitley's meetings follow a sharp fall in key macro indicators like GDP and the industrial output.

The government is taking "necessary" steps to help the economy recover, said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday, stressing that the government has taken note of all the 'economic indicators available'.  However, he refused to divulge details, saying the measures would be unveiled only after consultation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Mr Jaitley, who was addressing the media in New Delhi after a meeting with Cabinet colleagues and officials on Tuesday, also ruled out lowering cuts in duties on petroleum products to check the spike in fuel prices.

Here are 10 key things that you must know about what the Finance Minister said:

1. "We have taken note of all economic indicators which are available... the government will take any additional moves which are necessary. I am not in a position to announce today in the press conference. I will be certainly consulting the prime minister before that and when we decide, you will come to know," he said, as quoted by news agency Press Trust of India.

2. Mr Jaitley hinted at a package of measures to boost the economy. But ramping up government spending, at a time when lower-than-expected tax collections and sluggish economic growth have strained federal revenues, could force him to walk away from his promise to trim the fiscal deficit to a decade-low of 3.2 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), news agency Reuters reported.

3. On the current high transport fuel prices, Mr Jaitley said it was a temporary spike in global prices caused by the supply-demand mismatch due to hurricanes that hit the US coast.

4. Asked about the possibility of a cut in excise duties on petroleum products, he said government needed money for public spending to push growth and for social sector schemes. "States are taking so much tax... states under the Left and Congress should take steps to lower cesses," he said.  

5. Referring to opposition about price-rise, Mr  Jaitley said the parties which kept quiet when inflation was in double-digits, were now crying when it is at 3.3 per cent, which is within the RBI mandate of keeping inflation under 4 per cent. "During monsoon, there is normally a spike in vegetable prices and inflation is still at 3.36 per cent," he added.

6. On Tuesday evening, the Finance Minister chaired a high-level meeting to review the economic situation and discuss measures, including a possible stimulus package, to be taken amidst an economic slowdown, news agency Indo-Asian News Service reported. The meeting was attended by, among others, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian and Secretaries in the Finance Ministry -- Ashok Lavasa, Subhash Chandra Garg, Hasmukh Adhia, Rajiv Kumar and Neeraj Kumar Gupta.

7. Mr Jaitley's high level meetings follow a sharp fall in latest key macro indicators such as the GDP and industrial production, as well as a widening Current Account Deficit. Although industrial output posted a modest recovery in July, 15 of 23 manufacturing industries recorded a contraction, adding to the concern.

8. Pulled down by sluggish manufacturing, growth in the Indian economy in the first quarter of this fiscal fell to 5.7 per cent, clocking the lowest GDP growth rate since Mr Modi assumed office in May 2014.

9. The August consumer price index inflation shot up a full one percentage point to 3.36 per cent, from 2.36 per cent in July, led by a spike in food prices. The Index of Industrial Production in July rose by 1.2 per cent as compared to the same month of last year. It had declined by (-)0.1 per cent during June this year.

10. Mr Jaitley blamed the technical glitches that have plagued the digital filing of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) returns by businesses on the last minute rush to meet the deadline. "A lot of the GST problem is self-invited by assesses. For example, today is the last date for filing returns (July), but till last night only 25 per cent had paid their taxes. So, if 75 per cent of people wait till the last day, the system is bound to crash... its capacity is 1 lakh per hour or 24 lakh through the entire day. Till last night, there was no problem," he said. (With Agencies Inputs)

NDTV Beeps - your daily newsletter

................................ Advertisement ................................

................................ Advertisement ................................

................................ Advertisement ................................