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Monsoon improves prospects for agriculture, economy: Arun Jaitley

PTI 24 Jun 2015, 8:00:17 AM IST

San Francisco:  Progress of monsoon in India has improved compared to the predictions, bettering prospects for agriculture and putting the economy on a stronger footing, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said.

Speaking at a luncheon meeting organised by CII here in partnership with US-India Business Council on Monday, Jaitley said "the monsoon prediction is improving and with it the prospects of the agriculture sector doing better, which would put the economic growth prospects on an even better footing".

The industry body release said the Finance Minister, who is on a visit to the US, "alluded to the fact that the manufacturing sector had started to do much better after a protracted period of slowdown".

After slow progress, the southwest monsoon has advanced rapidly in India. Earlier this month, Indian Meteorological Department had lowered its monsoon forecast from 93 per cent to 88 per cent of the Long Period Average, with north-west region of the country expected to be hit the most.

On demand revival, Jaitley said "micro attention" was being paid to stalled projects and a pick up in that area would be helping demand for industrial products. A benign inflation situation could further allow softening of interest rates, he added.

He also highlighted the improved economic and investment conditions in India, the chamber said.

Companies which attended the luncheon meet included Microsoft, Applied Materials, Amazon, Oracle, Hewlett Packard, Visa, Franklin Templeton, Google, Cisco, First Solar, Aemetis, Ebay, Qualcomm, Blackberry and San Disk.

Finance Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, while answering specific questions from US companies stressed that the government is working to create an organised way to deal with change not just in policy regime but administration as well.

Government efforts are "work in progress" though there is already significant improvement on contentious issues like implementing a direct tax regime and GST regime, smoothening taxation disputes, easing land acquisition and labour regulations and so forth.