Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to hold press conference amid expectations of fiscal stimulus

  • There are expectations that the government would announce steps to revive economic growth

  • Since the Budget, the markets have tanked over 12% as the minister unveiled a slew of measures

  • The industry has for long been seeking some stimulus measures in the form of a Goods and Services (GST) reduction across sectors

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will hold a press briefing on Friday evening, a government spokesman said, amid expectations that the government would announce steps to revive economic growth.

Several businessmen say the Narendra Modi-led government needs to take swift action on the economy, as the economic growth in January-March slid to a near five-year low of 5.8 percent. Most analysts expect data due later this month to show that growth in April-June faltered even further.

The industry has for long been seeking some stimulus measures in the form of a Goods and Services (GST) reduction across the sectors as it is not just auto sales-which had hit a 19-year low in July plunging over 31 percent, but even consumer staples are facing the heat now.

 Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to hold press conference amid expectations of fiscal stimulus

File image of Nirmala Sitharaman. PTI

The industry also wants roll-back of some Budget measures like the super-rich tax on FPIs, a PTI report said.

Since the Budget, the markets have tanked over 12 percent as the minister unveiled as a slew of measures that have poured cold water on sentiment, making it one of the worst post-budget losses since the economy was opened up in 1991.

On 16 August, Sitharaman had said her officials are in discussions with their counterparts in the PMO and once the talks are over government will figure out what remedial steps should be taken and announce the same.

However, she refused to say if the government is planning to come out with a stimulus package to arrest the deepening slowdown, or ruled the possibility of one either.

"Since Monday, I have met five different groups representing banks and financial institutions, SMEs, industries and automobiles and listened to their problems. We are analysing what steps should be taken now," she told reporters when asked about a revival roadmap that her ministry is planning to unveil.

"Yesterday (Thursday) we had a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the economy," the minister added.

On a specific question whether the government will announce a stimulus package, Sitharaman quipped last week: "I have not talked about any stimulus package, and whatever appearing in a section of the media is not given by me.

"Discussions are going on about what steps should be taken and we will announce them when we are ready," was all she would say.

--With PTI inputs

Updated Date: Aug 23, 2019 14:53:29 IST