Union Minister DV Sadananda Gowda on Thursday said the current economic situation in the country was "challenging" but expressed the hope that the measures taken by the Union government to address it would see India quickly progress ahead 'in a very short time'.
"In 2008-09 also we had seen global slowdown, but during the time of economic slowdown, the measures taken by the administrative machinery is important as it plays a crucial role. I agree that our GDP, that was 8.2 per cent, has now come down to five per cent. This is certainly a challenge for the administration," Gowda said.
Pointing out that the union government has taken a slew of measures like for the automobile sector, infusion of funds to banks and addressing of liquidity issues concerning MSMEs, he said these were to address the “notion of financial instability”.
"Because of several such reform measures, in a very short time we will progress ahead," he said, noting that in the past too India had faced even more challenging times, but the country has "come back".
Gowda was addressing a press conference in Bengaluru to showcase the hundred days’ achievement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi led NDA 2 government. The more the employment is generated, the further push it would give to the financial sector, the Minister said and pointed out that the government was also giving an impetus to self-employment through schemes like Mudra loan.
To a question on the delay in release of central funds for Karnataka that was hit by incessant rains and floods, Gowda, who hails from the state, said it would be released at the earliest, but did not specify any time-frame.
SDRF funds to be released in December has already been released, he said, as he clarified that the Centre has not released any flood relief funds to any affected state so far.
"All major work for restoration and rehabilitation will only start once the rain stops. For immediate rescue and relief work, the state is using available funds," he said, as he expressed confidence that central funds would also be released at the earliest.
As many as 103 taluks in 22 districts were affected by the recent floods in many parts of Karnataka and the government has sought Rs 38,000 crore as relief from the Centre.
Rejecting the charges of the opposition and a section of the public that union Ministers and MPs from Karnataka "lack courage" to question the Prime Minister on the "delay" in granting central relief, Gowda said "it is far from the truth."
He pointed out that during every cabinet meeting on Wednesdays, Minister scan raise issues concerning their states with the Prime Minister directly.
"Last week also I had shared with him the information I had gathered from Karnataka on the situation in the affected areas."
BJP governments at both the centre and the state have been facing flak from the opposition Congress and JDS on the "delay" in grant of central funds, despite Home Minister Amit Shah and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman visiting the affected regions.
The Opposition parties have accused the Modi government of showing its "apathy" towards Karnataka, despite the state sending 25 BJP MPs. To a question on criticism of the steep fine amounts under the amended MV Act, Gowda said the intention behind the act was to control accidents and protect lives, but states can change it as they are the implementing authority.
He referred to Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari’s recent statement on the matter that accidents have drastically reduced after implementation of the act and new fines. Gowda, the Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers said his ministry has no plans to set up any new fertiliser plant.
The government was reviving four fertiliser plant sat Ramagundam, Sindri, Barauni and Gorakhpur at a cost of Rs 15,000 crore and once operational, "we will able to fulfill the 22 per cent that we are importing right now," he said.
Noting that many private players have evinced interest in setting up fetrtilizer plants, he said the Karnataka state Marketing Federation has come forward to invest Rs 6,000 crore for a plant in Devangere and they were also in talks with a private player.