India aspires to grow faster, eyes Africa: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

India wants its economy to grow much faster, Finance MinisterArun Jaitley said on Tuesday,  at the five-day India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) which commenced in New Delhi on Monday.

“India today aspires to grow much faster. We are not satisfied with present growth rates,” Jaitley told a seminar at the IAFS to which all of the continent’s 54 countries have been invited.

He also added that the government will achieve the fiscal deficit target of 3.9 per cent in the current financial year.

“I have consciously kept this year a very modest target of 3.9 per cent. I think the manner in which tax revenues and expenditure are moving, I don’t think this will be difficult to meet,” Jaitley said.

Stating that there was a better collection of revenues during the first six months of the current fiscal, he hoped the same for the remaining two quarters of 2015-16.

He, therefore, ruled out any possibility to slash expenditure either of state governments or that of various central ministries.

“I don’t think this year we have to cut down expenditure of either state government or public expenditure of the central ministries as it is moving ahead of our target as far as indirect taxes are concerned,” the minister said.

The targets for the next three years have been set at 3.9 per cent for 2015-16, 3.5 per cent for 2016-17, and 3 per cent for 2017-18.

On disinvestment front, the minister said there were challenges, particularly on account of global prices of metals, which constitutes large part of India’s gross domestic product (GDP ), not doing well.

“And therefore, I think it don’t make sense divesting at a time when prices are low,” Jaitley said.

Noting that Asia’s third-largest economy now eyes new opportunities for trade and economic cooperation with Africa , Jaitley in a speech to the event organised by Exim Bank said,  “the government has decided to set up a project development company in Africa.”

The country’s annual trade with Africa has grown to $72 billion but lags China ‘s $200 billion.




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