Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that her ministry is in the process of assessing the country's economic situation and will make an official forecast of the GDP contraction for 2020-21 soon.
Replying to a question during a panel discussion - organised as part of a virtual function held to launch the book "Portraits of Power: Half a Century of Being at Ringside" by N K Singh, Chairman of the 15th Finance Commission of India - Sitharaman said that the Finance Ministry was waiting for the commencement of the second half (of the financial year) to commence the assessment. "We have got a lot of inputs which are very different from what we had in July, so perhaps, sometime we will have to come out with an assessment", she said.
The minister, however, clarified that it is not certain whether it will be done in public or in the Parliament. She also ruled out giving any tentative deadline for giving an official GDP estimate for the current year. The Reserve Bank of India had estimated India's GDP to contract 9.5 per cent, while IMF pegged it at 10.3 per cent.
She also said that the government is open to announcing another stimulus package. "Every time we have announced one stimulus package, we have done that with a lot of consideration. We hear different sections and then we sit and work with the ministry, with the PMO and then take a final call. I have not closed the option," she said.
The minister also said that one of the top priorities before her will be to see India undertake more reforms to give more push to Prime Minister's 'Atmanirbhar' call by ensuring more private participation in India's growth story.
Sitharaman felt that India's federalism has got to be really robust. "It is sometimes very conveniently positioned by theoreticians to say what is going to strengthen democracy. But I would think a continuous real time robustness is what is going to make this country stronger. Every state has to adapt it. Even if one state is left behind, it will become a baggage and the speed with which we want to grow will be slowed down because of the pull factor. So we need to have greater robustness in our federal debate, federal engagements, so that India can become roaring on all four engines from the point of view of economy," the minister said.