Faced with a "challenging" economy, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the time has come to take measures that will put the country on a faster pace of growth and restore investor confidence. "With regard to the Finance Ministry...this is a challenging time for it and it is challenging because in the last two years, the economy has moved at a slow pace...Whatever steps have to be taken in this direction, this is the time for it and you will have to wait for this," said Jaitley, who is also Minister for Defence and Corporate Affairs.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a Navy function, Jaitley said the economy grew at a sub-5 per cent rate for two consecutive years, adversely impacting revenue collection. "To make the economy grow at a faster pace and reinstate the trust of investors in it, to make plans for bringing it back on track by holding consultations with stakeholders, I have done that in the last three-four weeks," he said.
Jaitley, who is likely to present the new government's maiden budget early next month, has held talks with various stakeholders, including industry and agricultural bodies. The government will present the budget when the country faces high inflation, particularly in the food segment, and a significant fiscal deficit.
Indications of a sub-normal monsoon and the conflict in oil-producing Iraq may add to the government's worries.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said he would administer "bitter medicine" to revive the economy.
On Friday, the government announced a steep hike in rail passenger fares and freight charges. India assured the global community at a G20 meeting on Sunday that policies of the new government will deepen the reform process to put the economy on a sustainable and balanced high-growth path.