Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that even if India witnesses negative or near zero growth this fiscal, it will be among the fastest-growing economies next fiscal.
Speaking at the CERAWeek India Energy Forum, Sitharaman stated that although the economy may stagnate or contract in FY21, there are visible telltale signs of revival (in the economy) due to which it will bounce back in FY22.
She added that revival in demand along with the government's prioritisation of agriculture, infrastructure, and related sectors, and support to pension funds as well as sovereign funds will drive economic growth.
The finance minister further said that the highest level witnessed in manufacturing PMI since 2021 signalled economic recovery. She also highlighted the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow between April and August.
"During this period, FDI inflows grew by around 13 per cent compared to a non-COVID 2019. Such an increase never happened in India's case," Sitharaman informed.
She expressed optimism that the unlocking of economy and onset of festive season will boost overall consumer demand.
Sitharaman further said that that economic activity had picked up in the country following the easing of coronavirus pandemic curbs, helped by several government measures.
"Festival season has commenced in India, as a result of which I expect the demand to go up and therefore, be sustainable also," the finance minister said.
Sitharaman also defended the government's decision to implement a nationwide lockdown to stem the further spread of coronavirus stating that the Centre's first focus was putting lives before livelihood. She enunciated that the imposition of lockdown gave the government time to prepare to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sitharaman's remarks come at a time when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has pegged India's GDP to shrink 10.3% this fiscal year, following revision of its forecast of a 4.5% dip in June.