Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said that the Indian economy is “doing well” and is on a sustained revival path. She is currently in the US to attend the annual meetings of the international monetary fund (IMF) and World Bank.
Sitharaman said that India draws the confidence to wade through the global economic crisis from the use of technology in the creation of digital public goods. She also mentioned that India’s digital public goods like the Cowin app, are available for any country which would like to use it without any charge.
During an interaction at Johns Hopkins University, Sitharaman said, “Our economy is doing well. It is largely because of the confidence in what has happened in the last two years. Economic revival is on a sustained path.”
Sitharaman said that India is confident of its economic prospects even as the country may suffer a dent in exports owing to lower global demand amid the recession, or pressure on the domestic currency with the rising global rates.
“Because of the global recession, if demand is going to fall externally and exports are going to suffer. If Indian Rupee is going to suffer because of the strong dollar; all this has been taken on board. There is a sense of confidence in India that we will go through this and we will be able still to perform. It is because of the way in which the technology has been used for the digital public good,” Sitharaman said.
“If India can today talk of a digital stack, we are not talking of just the payment, where UPI is acceptable in other countries. We are not talking of only Rupay cards, credit cards or chequebooks. We are talking about the QR codes, which can be scanned by android phones. Also, the apps that are there under the larger umbrella of the NPCI -- like Bhim and any other payments portal -- are not charged. These are public goods that we have created,” Sitharaman said.
“I want to say and reiterate that India’s public goods are available for the countries that need them. For instance, we created Cowin at the time of the pandemic. Technology helped Indian rural students to not miss out on education even during the lockdown. They did not lose out on education. Telemedicine is now very successful in India,” she added.
The finance minister pointed out that gone are the days when global standards were created and India had to catch up. “But on the digital front, be it identity, health, education, payments, or compliance requirements, India has set benchmarks. India has set global benchmarks on the digital economy and services that digital platforms can do for us. That itself, for India, is a huge confidence booster,” Sitharaman added.
Mentioning that today even small businesses have easier access to credit for the small business with the use of digital platforms, she said, “Constantly approaches are being made for better, easy credit to sustain businesses. Big businesses find resources but the small ones are the ones which do not get any assistance. Today the small ones are not only getting assistance, but sitting at home they can access through digital platforms,”
"These are great lubricants when an economy is finding ways to come out of lockdowns or extraneous problems of inflation and commodity prices. Despite all that, these are the building blocks of India’s confidence I would say," she added.
In her ongoing official visit to the US, FM held a high-level meeting with the US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. FM also attended G20 finance ministers and central bank governor (FMCBG) meetings. A slew of bilateral talks too is lined up during the visit.