measures being taken by the government would be seen in medium to long term. The minister, in a debate 'short-term discussion on the state of economy' in the Rajya Sabha, said the coming generations will remember this government for creating a 'new economic history' of the country.
Members of Opposition parties, especially those from the Congress, attacked the government, saying unemployment is growing and all key economic parameters have witnessed a decline in the last three-and-a-half years.
Countering the charges, the senior minister mentioned containing of inflation, recapitalisation of public sector banks and GST rollout as major policy initiatives of the Narendra Modi-led government.
"All the steps we have taken, we have also paid price in the short term. But I want to tell you that in the medium and long term, these steps would be seen on the economy of the country and coming generations will remember that due to these steps a new economic history of the country has been written," Jaitley said.
On concerns being raised over GDP growth decline post- noteban, the minister said although the country's economy grew at a rate of 7-8 per cent, people aspire for more. "The beauty of this country is and I consider it as a strength of this country is that at even a good 7-8 per cent growth rate, India is not a satisfied nation. We are not satisfied even if we are highest in the world, we aspire for more. That's an aspirational India, it is a good sign," Jaitley said.
He further said that India is the only economy which could maintain a growth rate of 7-8 per cent in these challenging times. On steps being taken towards improving health of PSU lenders, Jaitley said the government is trying to revive the public sector banks by all means.
"This bail-out which we are doing is not a very ideal situation but because public sector banks are property of the government, it is our legal as well as moral responsibility to keep them alive," he said.
So, the government is undertaking such a huge recapitalisation plan of over Rs 2.12 lakh crore, the finance minister added.
"The idea is to keep the public sector banks alive so that the banks' ability to support growth is not weakened," Jaitley said.
Under the GST composition scheme, traders and manufacturers with a turnover of up to Rs 1.5 crore can pay tax at a nominal rate of 1 per cent. The turnover threshold was earlier Rs 1 crore which was in November hiked to Rs 1.5 crore.
Around 16 lakh industries have registered under the composition scheme and paid Rs 250 crore in taxes, he added. On the infrastructure segment, Jaitley said the situation was so bad in the previous booming sector, there were no takers for tenders at that time.
"Today 255 highways are under construction...around Rs 27,000-28,000 crore is going every year into the rural roads," he said.
Attacking the UPA government, Jaitley said: "You just remember the situation in which you have left the economy. You are talking about the new series of GDP. The new series of GDP was not implemented from 2014-15 but it's from 2011-12."
He said the institution that measures GDP like CSO is part of the government but the political establishment maintains an arm's length distance from such offices.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
Get Breaking news, live coverage, and Latest News from India and around the world on NDTV.com. Catch all the Live TV action on NDTV 24x7 and NDTV India. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.