Washington: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said in the upcoming budget next February, growth will be among the top priorities of the government and attention will be paid to sustaining the momentum that the Indian economy has got coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Answering a question on priorities Modi government might have in the budget in terms of specific expenditure revenue, she said the growth priorities will be kept among the top priorities and inflation concerns will be closely looked at.

"Measures, specific may be difficult at this stage because it's a bit too early. But broadly, the growth priorities will be kept absolutely on the top, even as I speak about the concerns that inflation brings before me. So inflation concerns will have to be addressed. But then how would you manage growth would be the natural question," she said during an interaction at the Washington-based Brookings Institution.

Finance Minister said the upcoming budget will be a very carefully structured budget, one in which the growth momentum of the Indian economy will be sustained.

"...being sure how you're going to be able to balance the two and be sure that the momentum that Indian economy has got coming out of the pandemic and the momentum with which it will grow even the next year, even as per the very many multilateral institutions which are observing India cannot be weakened. So, it will have to again be a very carefully structured budget in which growth momentum will have to be sustained," she added.

In its July 2022 report, the IMF had pegged India's GDP growth for 2022 at 7.4 per cent.

The IMF's latest projection, released on Tuesday, India's GDP growth is projected lower than the 7 per cent growth pegged by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for the financial year 2022-23. However, despite the slowdown, India would remain the fastest-growing major economy.

Answering a question on India's short-term growth prospects over the next year or two, she said, in the post-pandemic economy the aim of the Modi government is to make the Indian economy far more robust with infrastructure framework ready not just roads in hopes but also the digital infrastructure, financial inclusion so that everybody has an access to a bank account.

"Looking at it the other way, not just handling the pandemic, but seeing it as a type of opportunity to continue with the reforms, whether it is looking at again, the amalgamation of bets making bigger bets, all that," she said.

Further speaking on India's economy's short-term prospects, the finance minister pointed to recognised a lot of risks that are "extraneous" to the Indian economy.

"They are all things happening outside which are definitely hitting us. And we are every now and then understanding the intensity of this and responding to it. Energy, fertilizer prices. Energy, not just the price, but also the availability. The risks to sourcing of energy. All these challenges, which are not in the medium term, not in the long term, but also in the short term," she said.

Sitharaman is on an official visit to the US. During her visit, she will be attending the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governor (FMCBG) Meetings.

The Finance Minister will take part in bilateral meetings with several countries, including Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Bhutan, New Zealand, Egypt, Germany, Mauritius, UAE, Iran and Netherlands.

The Finance Minister will also hold one-on-one meetings with leaders & heads of OECD, the European Commission and UNDP. In a high-level meeting, the Finance Minister will meet US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and David Malpass, President, World Bank separately to discuss issues of mutual interest.