Growth in states must for India to fight poverty: Jaitley

Strong economic growth in states is "imperative" for pushing up the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and giving it a "cutting edge" to fight poverty and generate jobs, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today.

He also said that additional growth has to come from eastern states like West Bengal where industrialisation had suffered because of the policies followed in the last 35 years.

"In a global situation which is so adverse, India's GDP growth is 7.5 per cent. Is it difficult to add 1 per cent more which will give us that cutting edge to fight poverty and generate jobs?" Jaitley said at the second edition of Bengal Global Business Meet here.

"Given the structure of India's federal polity, it is imperative that the states grow as well. Despite political differences, strong states mean a stronger India. West Bengal contributes nearly 6 to 7 per cent of national GDP. Given the fact that growth of the eastern states was lower than those of the western states, the additional growth will have to come from the former," he said.

Referring to West Bengal, he said industrialisation in the state had suffered due to policies pursued in the last three and half decades.

"Summits of these kinds held every year clearly demonstrate the intention that the need of the hour is to generate growth, increase revenue and fight poverty for which investments are required," he said.

"It is in this context that West Bengal that has lost its glory of the past could be restored and I assure you that the Centre will give all its support to the state's endeavour to attract investments," Jaitley said.

If Bengal followed such a policy, it would be able to generate jobs and revenue needed to fight poverty, else would have to fall back on shallow political slogans, he said.

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