New Delhi, June 1: The Central government seems to be on the back foot after GDP growth in the fourth quarter of the Financial Year 2016-2017 slumped to a dismal 6.1%, which the experts say is the result of PM Modi’s ambitious demonetisation move in November last year. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley came out to present government’s side of the story as he glossed over several steps taken by the government to ensure that economy remains on the right track. He also spelt out the triple-benefit of demonetisation, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November last year.

The Finance Minister said that demonetisation benefitted the economy in three ways. He said the move brought the economy to move towards digitisation, it has increased taxpayer base manifested by an increase in revenue and instilling fear in the minds of people that cash transactions were not safe. He said the demonetisation has brought a new normal in the country.

Talking about the achievements of the Modi government in the field of economy, he said that the country received highest ever foreign direct investment. However, he said that the slow growth of private investment was a cause of concern. He said GST that was being brought about after achieving a consensus was also a big step. He also said by linking schemes with Aadhar, the government was able to save valuable resources and clog leakages. He said the money saved was being used for programmes like rural electrification, toilets and infrastructure creation.  He called NPAs to be a major challenge before the economy.

The GDP growth slumped to 6.1% in the January-March quarter in the financial year 2016-2017, Chief Statistician of India, Dr TCA Anant said on Wednesday. The NSO further said that the annual growth rate has remained 7.1%. In the third quarter, the economy had missed the market expectation of 7.5% as the economy grew by 7.3%. In Q2 in 2016, the economy had grown by only 7.1%, missing market expectations of 7.6%. In the first quarter, the economy had grown by 7.9%.

The Chief Statistician of India, Dr TCA Anant, however, said GDP alone was not the only reason for growth slump in the last quarter of the financial year. He said he had not analysed the impact of demonetisation on the growth rate. The data showed that India’s growth rate also slumped in core sectors. Last year the growth in core sectors was 8.7 per cent. It has come down to 2.5%. (Also read: GDP growth in Q4 in 2016-2017 slumped to 6.1%, estimated annual rate 7.1%)