Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman declined to commit to a time-frame for recovery of the economy that is facing severe slowdown.
“Well, at this stage, I’m not looking at ‘how long’, I’m not expecting to say, ‘Am I looking at green shoots?’ Nothing of that,” she said, when asked by The Hindu whether the government had seen signs of recovery and how long. “ At this stage, it’s my duty to hear every sector and respond as much as they would want us to respond from the government side. So, my business is now just to go on listening and making sure that their grievances or their demands are addressed,” she said here on Thursday.
The revenue losses from some of the policies have raised questions on whether the government can stick to its fiscal deficit target of 3.3% of GDP, Ms. Sitharaman said she was not focussing on the target for now. Pressed on whether that meant she was abandoning the target, she replied in the negative.
The Minister sounded optimistic about achieving the ₹1,05,000 crore disinvestment target the government had announced for FY20 in its June 2019 budget. “ I’m clear that the DIPAM [Department of Investment and Public Asset Management] is going ahead with everything that has been targeted and there’s enough momentum gained by the response that we’ve received for the IRCTC . That’s not really completely ‘disinvestment’, but then the way in which it went about has shown clear indication that the market is ready for it.”
In terms of the engagement with the U.S., Ms. Sitharaman is scheduled to meet Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who will be in India in the first week of November for a financial dialogue. Mr. Mnuchin is also expected to visit Mumbai.