Characterising India’s economic recovery post pandemic as “awe inspiring” in the eyes of the world, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said India becoming the fifth largest economy in the world is no mean achievement.

After presenting the BusinessLine Changemakers awards (4th edition) here, Sitharaman hailed the winners and noted that these awards reflected the positive energy in the country. She underscored that this spirit of India should not be marred by a culture of negativity. It maybe recalled that India recently displaced the United Kingdom to become the fifth largest economy of the world.

Who takes the credit

Sitharaman highlighted that nearly a decade ago, India was at the eleventh position. “Today, within a matter of 10 years, India has moved from eleventh to fifth position. This is not a mean achievement. It’s all our achievement. It’s the people of India who should take credit of it,” she said.

The Finance Minister made it clear that she did not want to be drawn on the shape of India’s economic recovery (whether it is K, L or V), but noted that the recovery still retains India as the fastest growing economy among the large economies of the world.

“These are not something we can continuously deride. These are the achievements of the people of India. You like the government today or not, it doesn’t matter. But constantly underplaying the achievements of India... saying this is nothing or inflation is 6.9 per cent and still above 6 per cent... who doesn’t know these realities,” she said.

At a time when it is critical to be positive and future looking, there is a need to encourage each other so as to ensure that the current economic momentum is not lost, she added.

No disservice, please

“How many times in free India’s history have we not had opportunities to push ourselves forward at a much faster pace? Whatever the reason, we just couldn’t catch the bus. We cannot afford to do that this time. Especially when everything is falling in place, our self-deriding attitude should not be so strong that it makes our young Indian minds suspect as to what is happening in the country. In our enthusiasm to keep the democracy alive — yes, we should have the right to speak freely — it should not go to the extent of becoming so cynical,” she added.

Now that India is moving faster despite the pandemic, Sitharaman appealed that no disservice be done to the country through the spread of toxicity. “Everything is happening in the country... Look at the scale of our digital achievements. We have an India stack while developed economies are still writing cheques, putting them in post boxes, and waiting for them to be received by beneficiaries. Please stop this negativity. We should make sure that in our way contribute to the Indian economy,” she added.

Stating that word of mouth is important, there is need to talk about India’s achievements in various economic fields, Sitharaman noted.

In need of disruption

She also highlighted the slant where BusinessLine changemakers are largely focused on agriculture and also on environment-related matters — areas where India wants a lot of disruption.

“It is very satisfying to know that disruption is happening in those areas where we need change and remarkable change. These are changes that will bring mindset changes to stakeholders in this area. We need to rapidly and ferociously change our mindset towards how we live, treat our environment and how we want our agriculture products to be less harmful to us. Decades of using pesticides are showing on our health,” she said.