India Unveils Roadmap to Revive Economic Growth

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31 July, 2014

From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report.

India's new government is developing a plan to increase economic growth, which has fallen to its lowest level in nearly 20 years. The government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to be more friendly to business, and it has promised greater chances for foreign investors.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley recently presented the new government's first budget. He said the government will work to increase growth after the Indian economy grew at only 5 percent each of the past two years.

Mr. Jaitley presented the annual budget six weeks after the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power. The party is trying to find chances for the one million people who enter the workforce every year.

Mr. Jaitley said the new budget would set the government on a path to higher economic growth.

"The steps I will announce in the budget are only the beginning of a journey towards a sustained growth of seven to eight percent all about within the next three or four years, with the macro..." said Jaitley.

Indian and foreign investors closely watch the government's first budget. They wanted to see if Prime Minister Modi could raise business support in the country. He had been popular with the Business Community in Gujarat State where he served as Chief Minister.

The government did announce several economic reforms to show that it plans to aid business.
It raised limits for investors in two important industries - defense and insurance. The limits will increase from 26 percent to 49 percent. India is the world's largest arms buyer. The government promised a bigger part for private industry as the country tries to improve its roads, railroads, airports and other infrastructure. It also announced measures to help manufacturing.

The government says it will establish a simplified goods and services tax. The tax is meant to make it easier to do business across the country's 29 states.
Finance Minister Jaitley sought to ease investor concerns. The former government had raised tax claims of billions of dollars on several companies after changing tax laws to affect past income.

The Finance Minister also promised to control government spending. Mr. Jaitley said he will limit the budget deficit to four point one percent. After its election victory, the government now is under pressure to bring economic results.

And that's the VOA Learning English Economics Report. I'm Mario Ritter.