Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said infrastructure investment needs a boost and that his next budget in February would focus on encouraging more public as well as private spending to boost economic growth.
Speaking at ET Now awards, he said India aspires to become a developed economy from a developing economy and a 7- 7.5% GDP growth does not satisfy its requirements.
“Therefore spending more and now” is the focus, he said adding infrastructure spending “certainly needs a booster.”
The finance minister said there is a long-term potential of more resources getting into the system and that is going to be the top priority.
“Therefore, the areas where we were lacking, whether in terms of encouraging investment of the private sector and so on, I think these are going to be the areas where budget should concentrate on,” he said.
The government is likely to advance the date of budget presentation for 2017-18 to February 1 next year as against the usual date of February 28.
On the impact of demonetisation on the economy, Jaitley admitted that “altering this normal is extremely disruptive” but “in the long run you will have a higher GDP, a higher revenue and probably far cleaner economy and far cleaner public life.”
He further said it was “a courageous decision to withdraw 86 per cent of the paper currency, replace it and then say that replacement will now be substantially and significantly in digital.”
Regretting that a small section of people was trying to take advantage of the situation, Jaitley said, “This Indian normal where recovery of taxes is terrorism and non-payment is a way of life...has to change. With this new normal that is being created, if we succeed in doing, India would be a happier place.”