Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on October 15 said that the recent economic slowdown is a cyclic structural adjustment, and it is the right time to invest in India before growth bounces back.
Admitting that the country’s economic growth has slowed down in past two quarters (January-March and April-June in 2019) to a six-year low of 5 percent, Goyal said that India is no longer the fastest-growing major economy.
“India, being an economy with huge opportunities, could do well without this kind of a slowdown… Our economy is like any other economy in the world… challenges have grown (in recent times),” Goyal said during a panel discussion at India Energy Forum CERAWeek.
He further said, “We had a pretty good run for almost four to five year before the last two quarters. It (the slowdown) is rightsizing of certain sectors or opportunities in different areas.”
“I see the slowdown, but I don’t get unduly perturbed by it… It is an opportunity for all of us to reassess capacities, productivity and costs of production.”
Asserting that this is the right to time invest in the country, Goyal urged the investors direct funds in India, before the economy picks up again.
He was of the view that when times are good, people tend to lose the sixth sense and don’t care if… the productivity goes down little bit, leading to a slowdown or structural adjustment every few years.
On the government’s efforts to boost economic growth, he said past five years India collectively saw investments which were worth two-and-a-half times of the previous five years.
Further, he informed that Indian Railways would focus on a USD 700 billion programme of investments in the next 12 years to become an engine of growth as well as bring down logistics cost which would impact all industries in the country.
Similarly, on the infrastructure side, he told that the overall vision of the next five year was an investment of USD 1.4 trillion, which will certainly drive growth and bring back the mojo to industry.
He was of the view that the energy sector has a big role to play with a USD 60-70 billion-dollar investment potential in India.
He said, “If energy becomes the viable proposition, then the chemical and petrochemical sector, together can truly drive back growth into the economy. My own sense is that energy sector is at the cusp of a revolution in the country”.
Elaborating further, he said that India is willing to engage with modern technology and is looking at efficiency in domestic production – particularly in gas.
About renewable, he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has dropped the bombshell of 450 GW of renewable energy target — solar, nuclear, wind and gas (in some sense).
On the foreign direct investment (FDI) he said that India has opened up the platform to almost all sector, except to a few which are security or national policy concerns. In the energy sector, 100 percent FDI is allowed.
On tax rates and ease of doing business in India he said, “Our income tax rates are aligned with all comparable economies. India provides single window service without opening doors behind the window, which has been experience in the past.