As India's GDP growth rate fell to a six-year low of 5 per cent for the April-June quarter, apprehensions of a slowdown have risen. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who has announced a slew of measures off late, however, on Sunday avoided a direct answer to a query whether the economy is currently going through a "slowdown".
At a press conference here, when a reporter asked if the country is going through a slowdown, Sitharaman said: "The government has been in consultation with a lot of sectors. Because in some sectors, the inventory is piling up... different issues for different sectors and having heard that and having spent some time to see how best we can respond, the first tranche of the announcement were made on August 23.
"Last Friday I made one other set of announcements. I have also said, I will come back again when the process of consultations are over and we have worked on or we can respond... So I will be coming back to respond to sectors which have come to us and which want some relief from us..."
Concerns of a slowing economy have racked up again as severe slowdown in manufacturing activity in the country pulled India's GDP growth rate in the first quarter (Q1) ended June down to 5 per cent, marking the fourth successive quarter of decline in growth on the trot. From 8 per cent during Q1 of 2018-19 to 5 per cent in this quarter, the GDP has fallen by three per cent in barely a year.
The recent instances of low demand across the sector and low manufacturing activity among others have resulted in criticism of the government from several quarters along with that from the political adversaries.
On the latest announcement of mergers of 10 public sector banks into four, she reiterated that the merger would not lead to retrenchment of any employee in the banks. Regarding job losses, she said that most of the employment in the economic sector is generated by the informal sector which remains undocumented.
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