New Delhi: Days ahead of presenting her maiden Budget, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that demonetisation did not have any effect on the Indian economy. (Also read: Union Budget 2019 Likely to Maintain Status Quo on Angel Tax For Startups)

The minister was responding to supplementaries during the Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha.

Saying that economic growth was high on the agenda for the Government, Sitharaman added that various reforms have been introduced to improve the GDP.  “If low growth in certain sectors has impacted growth rate, particularly in agriculture and allied activities as also in financial and real estate and professional services, there has been a fall, particularly in agriculture based on third advance estimates, it is believed that there has been a 0.6 per cent decline in the output. If the impact on the low growth is because of outcomes from these sectors, the manufacturing sector has had a certain fall but which is not attributable to demonetisation,” she is reported to have said.

Sitharaman said that India is growing well above 7 % at a time when the United States has grown between 1.6 and 2.3 % in the past four years. She also quoted China’s growth as decelerating during this same period.

In a written reply, the Finance Minister said as per estimates available from Central Statistics Office, the GDP at constant prices was 6.8 per cent in 2018-19, as compared to 7.2 per cent in 2017-18 and 8.2 per cent in 2016-17.

However, reports point out that the growth rate steadily fell in 2018-19.

“The key reforms in Government’s new term include expansion to all farmers the cash transfer scheme ‘PM-Kisan’ providing income support of Rs 6,000 per year, which was earlier limited to farmers with a land holding of less than two hectares,” she said.