Arun Jaitley plays down GDP decline, says several factors responsible


New Delhi: Several factors including the global situation were responsible for decline in gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 6.1% in the fourth quarter of 2016-17, finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday, dismissing suggestions that it was on account of demonetisation.

The minister further said some slowdown was visible even prior to demonetisation of Rs500 and Rs1000 currency notes announced by the government on 8 November last year. “Seven-eight per cent growth is fairly reasonable level of growth and very good by global standard and reasonable by Indian standard,” Jaitley said while addressing media on completion of three years of the Modi government.

According to GDP data released on Wednesday, growth rate slipped to 6.1% in the January-March quarter and 7.1%, the lowest in the three years, during 2016-17. Referring to the challenges, he said the major ones include resolving the issue of bad loans in the banking sector and encouraging private sector investment.

On privatisation of ailing national carrier Air India, Jaitley said Niti Aayog has already given its recommendations to the civil aviation ministry to explore various options. “It is for the Civil Aviation Ministry to explore various options,” he added.

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