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Stimulus measures already showing results; the mood is upbeat: Piyush Goyal

"The excitement and the enthusiasm that people have to engage and do business with India is so huge," Goyal said.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Sep 22, 2019, 10.28 AM IST
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"We are going through a cyclical problem. There is no slump," Goyal said.
The stimulus packages announced in the last few weeks have already started showing results but a collective effort of all stakeholders would be needed for the economy to turn around, says commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal. In an interview with Kirtika Suneja in Dubai, he explains the way forward. Edited excerpts:

A series of stimulus packages have been given in the last few weeks. By when do you think they’ll start showing result?
It has started happening now. I had a set of engagements in the morning with the business community and now with investors. The mood is so upbeat, it is truly unbelievable. The excitement and the enthusiasm that people have to engage and do business with India is so huge. Prime Minister Modi and his entire team is committed to making this a reality not in the distant future but in the very very near term.

Are these measures enough to overcome the slump that India is facing?
I beg to disagree. There is no slump. We are going through a cyclical problem which we have to overcome which is why you have a responsive government and finance minister has been engaging with stakeholders all across the country. We have all in our different ministries, been working in our sectors, to talk to people and I’m delighted at the level of engagement, at the frank and honest feedback and the confidence that I see in the business community. To my mind, the series of steps that FM has taken, what plans we have going forward and which will continue to unfold in the days to come, collectively will turnaround the situation to a high growth trajectory faster than anybody can imagine.

Do we have a number for this high growth trajectory or is it too early to put a number?
There’s no limit to the possibilities. It is us, all of us collectively. It can’t be the government alone who can manage that, it is the collective effort of all stakeholders be it the political leadership, bureaucracy or be the business community, be it for that matter even the media to support efforts to give a good sense of confidence to investors and stakeholders. We will need support from the judiciary in terms of faster resolution of issues. So, it will be a collective effort where all stakeholders who mean well for India.

Will these measures help in relocation of manufacturing from other countries? Have got some interest or approached some countries or companies?
It is a chicken and egg problem. We have been talking to stakeholders over the last few months and we get a lot of feedback about what are the enablers, issues they’re most concerned about and simultaneously we keep taking a series of measures. It’s a collective response to what we hear and we will continue to hearing things for the future. That’s the true spirit of the engagement of this government with investors all over the world and in India. The spirit of understanding, the spirit of fast response and the action-oriented governance that you are seeing in India today.

How will all these measures help in getting manufacturing or giving a boost when we signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and in talks with the US for some kind of a trade deal...
You’re starting from an assumption that doing a trade deal with the US or RCEP is detrimental to India’s interest. This is the mindset that most of us including me at one point in time that I had. As you understand the intricacies of global trade, as you see the interlinkages of global trade, value chains, the way companies are spreading across different countries and even sometimes continents, leveraging on the comparative advantage of each country so that the final finished product is a quality product at the best possible price. You realise that if you remain outside the chains and don’t wish to engage with the world, you will be left behind and lose the potential that India has. So I think all of these efforts will be keeping in mind national interest, domestic industry’s interest while at the same time ensuring that we can do large scale job creation, employment is generated as well as economic activity grows.

We have asked for review in Asean, Japan and Korea FTAs, is something of that sort also likely in the RCEP?
Rcep will have an automatic review mechanism. We have already ensured about that. We are not allowing our negotiators to make the same mistake that we’re made in FTAs the 2009-10 period.

Will this be the strategy for Australia, EU?
Australia is part of RCEP but I’ve offered to Australia also to look at a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and I’m waiting to hear from them. EU is under an election process. November they will have a new government. I do hope to start talking to them as soon as the election process is over.

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