India can ‘recapture the magic’ of growth

India can ‘recapture the magic’ of growth

NEW DELHI - Agence France-Presse
India can ‘recapture the magic’ of growth

There are signs of an upturn that will take the Indian economy to a high growth path, Indian Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said. Hürriyet photo

India’s economy can “recapture the magic” and return to high-growth of 7-to-8 percent in the next couple of years, picking up from decade-low expansion, the finance minister said on Feb. 9. Earlier in the week, India’s Central Statistics Office (CSO) had projected that Asia’s third-largest economy will accelerate by five percent in the fiscal year ending in March, its slowest rate in 10 years.

“There are signs of an upturn that will take us to a high-growth path,” Finance Minister P. Chidambaram told reporters. “We will climb back to a growth rate of between 6 to 7 percent next year and then between 7-and-8 percent in the year after. We can recapture the magic of 2004-08. The average growth was 8.5 percent during that period,” he said.

The finance minister disputed the CSO’s growth estimate of 5 percent for the current financial year as too low. “We believe growth will be closer to 5.5 percent,” Chidambaram said, as he unveiled a scheme to draw more investors into India’s growing stock market.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) last week forecast India’s economy would post growth of 5.4 percent in the financial year ending in March.

Last year, the economy grew by 6.2 percent but even that rate, while enviable by anaemic Western standards, is insufficient to create the jobs India needs to provide work for its ballooning population.

An eight percent growth rate is imperative to generate jobs, Chidambaram said. “The measures we have taken and will take in the coming days will put India onto the 8 percent path,” said the minister, who is due to present the budget for the coming financial year at the end of the month.

The Congress-led coalition government has introduced a string of measures since September to encourage foreign investment in key sectors and reduce subsidies, which have led to a ballooning fiscal deficit.

India’s economy has slowed sharply due to high interest rates, Europe’s debt crisis and sluggish investment caused by domestic and overseas concerns about policy-making and corruption.