Indian economy expected to grow at 7.2 percent in 2017-18: Jaitley

New Delhi [India], Apr. 1 (ANI): Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said the is expected to grow at 7.2 percent in 2017-18 and 7.7 percent in 2018-19 according to IMF estimates.

Delivering the keynote address at the opening ceremony of the second New Development Bank Annual Board of Governors' meeting in New Delhi, Jaitley said though emerging markets and developing economies show better growth prospects, they also face newer challenges.

"Most notably a possible shift towards inward-looking policy platforms and protectionism, a sharper than expected tightening in global financial conditions that could interact with balance sheet weaknesses in parts of the euro area and increased geopolitical tensions, including unpredictable economic policy of USA," he said.

He, however, maintained that despite these challenges, new opportunities in terms of better infrastructure financing in emerging economies have emerged.

"The estimated unmet demand for infrastructure investment in EMDEs is gargantuan, estimated at above USD 1 trillion a year by the World Bank," he said, adding that the established multilateral development banks are now capital constrained and the NDB or BRICS Bank can now step in to bridge this deficit.

Expressing hope that the NDB will emerge as a development bank that looks into the requirements of developing countries, Jaitley further said India has sought USD 2 billion loans for various projects from the NDB.

"India has huge unmet infrastructure funding needs. USD 646 billion is required in next five years (for financing infrastructure)," Jaitley said.

India will work with the NDB to develop a strong shelf of projects in specific areas such as smart cities, renewable energy, urban transport, including metro railways, clean coal technology, solid waste management and urban water supply. (ANI)