Economic downturn This too shall pass, says Gadkari

Mumbai: Union minister for roads, transport and highways, Nitin Gadkari said, the economic constraints the nation was suffering was temporary and we would soon put it behind us.

The economy was facing some problems because of the global situation, demand-supply dynamic and business cycles, he said. "Ups and downs are not permanent. GDP will recover. We are doing better than USA and China. We must keep positive attitude. The economy will accelerate. The objective of a US $5 trillion economy will be achieved," the senior minister said.

Terming the massive Rs 1.45 lakh crore tax giveaway announced by the government on Friday, as "historic", Gadkari said the move would boost investor and entreprenuer confidence. "This can be construed as the growth engine for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector. ...For achieving the dream of becoming a US $5-trillion economy (by 2025), such a decision is important. I am sure the market will react positively to the move. We have already seen the share markets rally," he added. Addressing an India Today event in the city, the minister said the country would see the positive results of the massive 10-percentage points reduction in corporate taxes in the coming time. Gadkari said, "This government is progressive and investment-friendly, yes there are some problems but these are only temporary."

India has been suffering from the huge slowdown in the economic sector, with the automobile and the real estate industry being severely affected and the Gross Domestic Product down to 5 per cent. The MSME sector has also incurred losses. Demonetisation and the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) are regarded as the primary reasons for for the economic slowdown. Gadkari said these measures were implemented for the reformation of the economy.

The union minister further informed, the government planned to boost the MSME with Rs10,000 crore. If any MSME enlists itself with the National Stock Exchange, 10 per cent of the total capital raised will be given by the government. The real estate sector was going through a slump, but the infrastructure and road sector was doing well, Gadkari claimed.

Defending the new Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, which came into effect from September 1, the union minister said, "High penalties in the act are not meant to generate revenues, but they are meant to save lives." The Act has garnered support from unexpected quarters -- Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi have supported it, though some BJP-ruled states and others have opposed the act or watered it down or delayed its implementation.

"Five lakh accidents take place (in the country) every year, in which about 1.5 lakh people die, nearly three lakh become disabled. Sixty-five per cent of victims are in the age group of 18 to 35 years. "The penalty amount can be amended by the states, the Centre has kept the gates open for the state governments to decide the amount of the fines," he pointed out.

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