"With regard to the Finance Ministry...this is a challenging time for it and it is challenging because in the last two years, the economy has moved at a slow pace. Whatever steps have to be taken in this direction, this is the time for it and you will have to wait for this," he said.
    
Jaitley, who is also the country’s Defence Minister, said the economy grew at sub-five percent rate for two consecutive years, adversely impacting revenue collection.
    
"To make the economy grow at a faster pace and reinstate the trust of investors in it, to make plans for bringing it back on track by holding consultations with stakeholders, I have done that in the last three-four weeks," he said while talking to reporters on the sidelines of a Navy function.
    
Jaitley, who is likely to present Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government's maiden budget early next month, has held talks with various stakeholders, including industry and agricultural bodies.
    
The government will present the budget when the country faces high inflation, particularly in the food segment and a significant fiscal deficit.
    
Indications of a sub-normal monsoon and the conflict in oil-producing Iraq may add to the government's worries.
    
Earlier on Friday, the government announced a steep hike in rail passenger fares and freight charges.
    
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier warned of ‘tough decisions’ over the next couple of years to improve the country's financial health, which “may not go down well with some sections” and attacked the way the previous UPA government had handled the Indian economy.

The national economy has cut a sorry figure for the past one-and-a half decade and several burning issues like stagnation in employment generation, value of rupee against foreign currencies and slow industrial growth impeded the development process to a considerable extent.

The previous UPA government drew immense flak over its approach in economic overhaul. On the other hand, there has been an air of excitement as well as expectation in the commerce and business sector ever since Modi-led NDA government took charge at the Centre.

India’s economic growth remained below five percent mark at 4.7 percent in 2013-14. It remained subdued at 4.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013-14.
    
The GDP expanded at 4.5 percent in 2012-13, the slowest pace in the previous decade.

India assured the global community at a G20 meeting earlier on Sunday that policies of the new government will deepen the reform process to put the economy on a sustainable and balanced high-growth path.

Expedite military purchases: Jaitley

Describing the slow pact of military purchases "a major concern", Jaitley, who also holds the defence portfolio, said several decisions in the pipeline need to be expedited.

"Key matter of concern is the slow pace of acquisition of equipment and assets that are required," the Union Minister told the media here.

"Several decisions in the pipeline are good cases for these processes to be expedited," he added.

"The entire resources of the country, notwithstanding various pressures, have to be made available in significant amount for those in defence of the country," said Jaitley.

JPN/Agencies

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