Stating that she was hopeful for this year's GDP output and the growth of the Indian economy, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman pointed out that 19 out of India's 22 high-frequency indicators had returned to pre-pandemic levels. The minister expressed hopes of a speedy recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic while speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in Delhi.
"In 19 of them we've achieved pre-pandemic or even crossed pre-pandemic levels, meaning we have performed better than pre-pandemic levels," Sitharaman said, while referring to indicators that come with a higher frequency than a quarter, such as monthly purchasing managers indices (PMI), car sales and factory output.
"PMI index is the highest in the last 10 months... There is a consistency to this performance and, therefore, I would think ... having reached the pre-pandemic level is one thing. Having crossed the pre-pandemic levels is the next," the minister told Hindustan Times.
The only exceptions in the indicators were sectors like tourism which by their nature had been harder hit and were struggling to recover, she said, pointing out that India's robust vaccination programme and Covid-9 precautions should safeguard the economy for a while yet.
Responding to a question on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in October, trimming India's potential growth to 6% due to the impact of the pandemic, the finance minister said that this was more of a prediction in the long-term and that it was not a worry currently. IMF estimates that India will grow by 9.5% in 2021 and 8.5% in 2022.
Commenting on India's promises at the COP 26 climate conference in Glasgow, Sitharaman said that while the move towards less carbon-intensive growth will not in any way affect India's growth prospects in the short term, in the long term, the country will have to invest more to fuel growth – an argument that backs India's demand for climate finance funding from developed countries.