Percentage of BPL population will be down to single digits by 2025: Jaitley

New Delhi: India would become the third largest economy in the world with a GDP of $10 trillion by the end of next decade, said Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley. The middle class will nearly double to 44 per cent, he added.

Speaking at an event in the national capital, Jaitley said the growth will come on the back of increased consumption and growth in investments. Currently, the size of the Indian economy is about $2.9 trillion, he said.

“We keep oscillating between fifth and the sixth largest economy, depending on the dollar rate. As we look at the years ahead, we would be $5 trillion by 2024 and $10 trillion by 2030 or 2031. That’s when we will be amongst first three – US, China and India and then of course, we would in the rat race of the big three wanting to catch up with much mightier competitors. So the sheer size and opportunities is going to expand,” he said.

The 2011 census showed that 21.9 per cent of India’s population lived below the poverty line (BPL) and with the present rate of growth, this might have further reduced to 17 per cent today, Jaitley said.

It should shrink to 15 per cent by 2021 and further down to single digits by 2024-25, he said and added that at the same time, the middle class population would increase to 44 per cent from 29 per cent in 2015, he said citing a study.

“Therefore as you look ahead you would see poverty deplete, you will see an exponential growth of middle class and probably by 2030 almost half of India would be in that category (middle class),” he said.

“Going by the data, the size of India middle class would be four times the size of BPL when 2024 general elections takes place and therefore we have to see (whether) public discourse is still behind the curve or it takes the curve further,” he said.

“So, consumption will get a boost with rising number of middle class,” he said and added that infrastructure creation, both rural and urban, would also help accelerate the growth process.

Talking about avenues of growth for the next 20 years, the Finance Minister listed infrastructure creation, rural expansion, among others.

NT Bureau