The Centre is likely to announce more measures on Saturday to arrest the economic slowdown that has plagued the Narendra Modi administration’s second term.
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman is tentatively scheduled to address a news conference to outline fresh measures for growth, said a government official privy to the plans, requesting anonymity. Sitharaman will also share the feedback she has received on the measures taken in recent weeks to lift business confidence and liquidity, the official added.
While the government on Friday made no announcement on the press conference, the news agency ANI, having broken the news, later tweeted that it was cancelled. A government official, however, told Mint that the presser was tentatively scheduled for Saturday.
Sitharaman is expected to announce sector-specific solutions and targets, said the official. The Centre has been working on measures to boost growth in the housing and real estate sector, a major job creating industry, which has been grappling with record unsold inventory and poor sales.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cut interest rates four times since January to 5.4% by August, to help boost loan growth.
A slowing domestic economy, amid adverse external headwinds such as the US-China trade war and fears of a global recession, has made it that much more difficult for the government to buck the trend.
In recent weeks, the Centre has announced a slew of measures, including front-loading of public expenditure, a massive ₹100-trillion investment into infrastructure, improved access to credit for businesses, liberal foreign ownership norms and more capital for state-run banks.
The economic downturn has become a sticky political issue ahead of assembly elections in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand. Former prime minister and senior Congress leader Manmohan Singh has criticised the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government for what he called the “man-made blunders of demonetization and a hastily implemented GST”.
India’s economy reported its weakest growth in more than six years at 5% in the June quarter.
The Reserve Bank of India has projected gross domestic product to expand 6.9% in 2019-20, while most analysts and financial institutions have estimated 6.5-7% growth.