Gandhinagar: India's macroeconomic fundamentals are quite strong and its economy is currently growing at the fastest pace in the world, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Thursday.
Shah's positive assessment of Asia's third largest economy came amid talks of a slowdown in economic activity.
Addressing a convocation ceremony here, the home minister said when the Narendra Modi government took charge in its first term in May 2014, the economy was in a shambles, but things have improved over the last five years.
"In 2014, when the Narendra Modi government was formed our economy was in a shambles. But today in 2019 I can say that our macroeconomic fundamentals are quite strong," Shah said, addressing the convocation of Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University here.
"Even today India is the fastest-growing economy of the world with around 7 per cent (GDP) growth," Shah said. Industrialist Mukesh Ambani, who is the promoter of the university, was present on the occasion.
"In the last five years, we have managed to keep the inflation rate below 3 per cent. While the fiscal deficit (gap between expenditure and revenue), which was at 5 per cent, has come down to 3.5 per cent," Shah said.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said India should grow to be the third most advanced country in economic terms and for that we are moving ahead with micro planning," he said.
The home minister said FDI (foreign direct investment) in India has also increased. Shah said India's goal is to become a USD 5 trillion economy in the next five years and without contribution from the energy and petroleum sector, this goal can't be achieved.
Shah's statements came at a time when the NDA government has taken a raft of measures to revive economy.
These include relaxing FDI rules, releasing Rs 70,000 crore capital to public sector banks to boost credit to different sectors of the economy, receiving a large chunk of funds from the RBI and withdrawing angle tax for startups.
Addressing the graduating students present at the event, Shah said they are starting a new innings where they will contribute in development of the country. He advised them not to set small goals and always look at the bigger picture.
Ambani, in his speech, said India will soon be a leading digital society in the world. "I can say with confidence that if there is one place in the world where the transformative power of digitisation is breaking new ground every day, and every hour, it is India," the Reliance Industries chairman said.
"In less than 24 months, India has taken a leadership position as Number 1, from being 155th in the world, in mobile data.
"In the next 24 months, India will similarly be among the leading nations in the world in the adoption of artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, blockchain, cloud computing and other technologies of the fourth industrial revolution," Ambani said.
Moreover, India will employ these technologies to double the incomes of our farmers, to enrich our small traders and small entrepreneurs, to make our cities and villages smarter...in short, to make India a leading digital society in the world," the billionaire businessman said.
Ambani said India is standing at the doorsteps of a historic opportunity. "Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set the goal of making India a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024. In other words, nearly doubling the size of the national economy in the next five years.
"Of course, India can and India will. Now we have the opportunity to provide a greater quality of life to all our citizens at the fastest pace in human history," he said.
The industrialist said the "New India" has a great future. "Better food, better education, better healthcare, better livelihoods, better infrastructure in villages and cities, and better environment this is the picture of New India that appears before my eyes, as I look to the future," he said. PTI PD