Continuous reforms make India a great place to do business in, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman asserted, as she called on American investors to cash in on new opportunities arising out of New Delhi’s recent FDI reforms, the rollout of performance-linked incentive (PLI) schemes and the privatisation policy.
Despite the damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, India’s fiscal situation is under control and expected to improve further, the minister said. She was addressing a virtual global investors roundtable, organised by the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) late on Thursday.
The Centre’s fiscal deficit spiked to as high as 9.3% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in FY21, as revenue collections crawled while the need for spending to soften the Covid blows grew. In the current fiscal, the Centre is targeting to reduce the deficit to 6.8%.
The virtual roundtable is the latest in a series of meetings held by finance minister to draw large-scale foreign investments, especially in infrastructure, to bring the Covid-ravaged economy back on its feet fast. The country’s reliance on FDI has risen in recent years, as domestic private investments have remained anaemic.
Sitharaman stressed the government’s vision to build a self-reliant modern India, driven by 5 “Is” — intent, inclusion, investment, infrastructure and innovation.
She asserted that there has been continued macro-economic stability and recovery in recent months. For instance, the highest-ever goods and services tax (GST) collection shows the bright spot and suggests greater formalisation of the economy and tax compliance, she said.
“The finance minister remarked that macro-economic stability, infrastructure-led economic growth opportunities, financial sector reforms, and positioning as a strong player in global supply chains are just some of the ways India continues to rise as a global economic powerhouse,” the finance ministry said in a statement.
The 15 new unicorns in five years itself reflects that the country’s growing start-up ecosystem is amongst the best in the world, she said.
While hard-selling her government’s various initiatives to draw investments, Sitharaman also informed the investors of a significant drop in new Covid cases in India and the decline of the second wave. She also highlighted the government’s Aatmanirbhar initiative and steps taken to ensure infrastructure-led growth.