India will do everything that is required to become the world’s third-largest economy and it will be done during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s third term, if voted to power, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman told Hindustan Times in an interview, days after presenting the Interim Budget 2024.

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. (Raj K Raj/HT photo)(HT_PRINT)

Nirmala Sitharaman said India is on track to become the third-largest economy in the world, and the plan to get the country to this stage is being set in motion by the government.

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“The prime minister has already said that in the third term, we will become the world’s third-largest economy. So, everything that is required to do so that we reach the third biggest economy level, will be done. That’s the third term,” Nirmala Sitharaman said.

Nirmala Sitharaman added, “But you may want to add that the second term saw a pandemic like was never seen before. Despite that, with reforms and with every inclusive measure the economy has been brought to the level of fifth largest (now).”

On the projected slow growth of private consumption in the Indian economy, which amounts to roughly 60 per cent of the country’s GDP, Sitharaman said that it is at a “very transitory stage”.

“It’s also a reflection of the economy actually going through a lot of shifts, changes, the paradigms are themselves being challenged. I take a very simple example; rural workers move to urban areas and during critical seasons [sowing or harvesting] they go back to their villages. Now, since post-Covid, many of those who had been in the urban areas and acquired some kind of skills — each at his or her own level — are saying that the rural areas are giving them [similar] opportunities to utilise and monetise their skills. Many of them have not even returned [to urban centres]. If that is happening, are we able to measure that?” she said.

FM Sitharaman on AI and shrinking employment

The advancements in artificial intelligence is threatening the job market in the technology industry, as big tech companies continue to make investments in AI development. On being questioned on how to address the unemployment issue in India in this regard, Nirmala Sitharaman said AI is creating indirect jobs, making this a “layered debate.”

“You have to address the unemployment issue, no doubt. But, do you think jobs are only there? First of all, AI also requires human intervention. It is not going to operate on its own. Second, on investment; it has to happen and if it brings jobs together, it’s very well. But at least when investment comes, as you say, it may not give many jobs, but those (businesses) are getting located in an area. They are going to create indirect jobs as well. So, it is a layered debate,” the finance minister said.



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