Macroeconomic fundamentals strong for ensuring sustained growth: President

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on January 31, 2017

President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan walking in to Parliament House on the first day of the Budget Session on Tuesday. -- Kamal Narang


Painting a bright picture of the economy at a time when global growth has been slow, President Pranab Mukerjee on Tuesday said that the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals are “very strong, creating a platform for sustained high growth”.

“The rate of inflation, the balance of payments, current account deficit and the fiscal deficit have been consistently reduced since 2014,” he said in his address to the joint sitting of Parliament, adding that foreign direct investment flows in 2015-16 at $55.6 billion were the “highest ever in any financial year.”

On the Goods & Services Tax, the President said its passage took forward the concept of cooperative federalism, and thanked the GST Council for working to resolve outstanding issues.

Terming the “resilience and forbearance demonstrated by countrymen….in the fight against black money and corruption, as “remarkable, the President cursorily mentioned the issue of demonetisation, which washed out the Winter session of Parliament, terming it among the “bold decisions” taken by the government.

“To combat the evils of black money, corruption counterfeit currency and terror financing, my government took the decision on 8th November, 2016, to demonetise old five hundred and one thousand rupee currency notes,” he said, adding that the “government’s very first Cabinet decision was to set up an SIT on black money.”

Touching upon other achievements, Mukherjee said the government had saved about Rs 36,000 crore by implementing Direct Benefit Transfer scheme through the Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile (JAM) trinity.

“An unprecedented 26 crore-plus Jan Dhan accounts have been opened for the unbanked. Over 20 crore RUPAY debit cards have been issued to enable cashless payments,” he added.

On agriculture, the President said the government’s focus was on “holistic development”.

“The sown area in the current Rabi season has shown six per cent increase in comparison to last year,” he said, listing out various steps to “transform the lives of farmers,” such as affordable credit, comprehensive insurance, issuing soil health cards and assured markets through e-NAM.

“Under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, around 3.66 crore farmers were insured for Rs 1.4 lakh crore during Kharif 2016,” he added.

Under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, free gas connections were provided to five crore households, he said, adding that 37 per cent of the beneficiaries are from the Scheduled Castes and Tribes.

The other achievements highlighted by the President included higher allocation for the tribal sub-plan, MGNREGA, modernisation of Railways, repeal of over 11,000 obsolete laws.

Stressing on the importance of “debate, discussion, accommodation and understanding,” toward nation-building, the President also pitched for simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and State Assemblies.

“Frequent elections put on hold development programmes, disrupt normal life and impact essential services and burden human resource with prolonged periods of election duty,” he said, adding that “My government would welcome any decision taken by the Election Commission in this regard after consultation with political parties.”

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Published on January 31, 2017
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