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Govt will keep intervening to make India a $5-trillion economy: Nirmala Sitharaman

"I am in constant touch with the industry and various sections seeking out interventions. I expect to be on track for $5 trillion target. We need to address the challenges and difficulties. I am not comparing our numbers today to what it should be but focussing on moving towards achieving the target," Sitharaman said.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Dec 17, 2019, 09.07 AM IST
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"I will be at it till it is needed. My focus will be to attend to everyone till we reach our target. Every step being taken to see that the economy goes forward and benefits everyone," Sitharaman said.
Mumbai: The government will continue to intervene to boost India’s economy until it achieves the GDP target of $5 trillion, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

The government is working on expediting payments due to companies, putting more money in the hands of the people and addressing challenges due to lower tax receipts, which will yield results, Sitharaman said.

“I am in constant touch with the industry and various sections seeking out interventions. I expect to be on track for $5-trillion target. We need to address the challenges and difficulties. I am not comparing our numbers today to what it should be, but focussing on moving towards achieving the target,” Sitharaman said at the Times Network India Economic Conclave 2019.

The minister acknowledged that goods and services tax collections have been slow this year because of which the central government’s compensation to the states has been impacted. But she expressed hope that GST collections will go up.

She said there has been no discussion in the finance ministry on GST rates.

“We have not had any discussion on GST slabs and rates. This discussion is everywhere other than my office so I am not going to answer this question... the GST Council may decide, but there is no buzz in my office,” Sitharaman said.

Of the full-year GST collection target of ?6.63 lakh crore, only 50% has reached government coffers in the first eight months of the financial year. This has also affected the compensation paid to states, hurting their revenue.

Sitharaman acknowledged that states are facing problems but promised that their dues will be paid.

“I admit that the compensation for the last two months has not been given. Collections have been hit because some flood-affected districts which are crucial from the tax collection point of view were given an extension. Consumption has also come down, which had its consequences, but it is neither the fault of the states nor mine personally… We know it’s a difficult time for states but they will get their money,” she said.

The minister said the government is working together with the states to improve GST collections and to push consumption.

$5-Trillion Economy
“I am making sure that there is a stimulus for consumption and putting money into the hands of the poor through schemes like MGREGA and kisan yojanas. Public investment for infrastructure is also being taken very seriously and we are making sure that a pipeline of funds is ready,” Sitharaman said.

The finance minister is working with the expenditure secretary to ensure the government pays what it owes for goods and services rendered to it, especially by micro, small and medium enterprises.

“I will be at it till it is needed. My focus will be to attend to everyone till we reach our target. Every step is being taken to see that the economy goes forward and benefits everyone,” Sitharaman said.

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