A GDP contraction of 23.9 percent in the first quarter of the current fiscal may be a cause for concern for the economists, but former NITI Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya is of the view that the dip in growth is almost entirely due to the lockdown restrictions and is not a testimony to the fundamental weakness in the economy.
Further, Panagariya feels that there are excellent prospects of India returning to 7 percent plus growth once the COVID threat has been eliminated.
Meanwhile, even as the government takes more measures to open up more and more sectors in a bid to revive the economy, it has announced customs norms in a bid to crack the whip on importers who have been using free trade agreements as a shield to avoid paying customs duty. Starting from the 21st of September, the customs department would be closely monitoring imports from nations with whom India has an FTA.
The commerce minister has already made it clear that India will no longer be a patient receiver of unfair trade practices.
External affairs minister S Jaishankar meanwhile believes that free trade agreements haven't served India well and has highlighted that India would have to look out for changes in the global economy, which is moving towards greater protectionism. To discuss the economy and the road ahead for trade and investment, Shereen Bhan spoke to Arvind Panagariya former vice chairman of NITI Aayog.