Economy set to take off for 8-9% growth: Jaitley

Davos: The economy is set to clock a 6.5% growth next year and then take off to reach 8-9% in the years to come on the back of huge public support for reforms initiated by the government, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday.

“There is a huge amount of popular support, particularly in the backdrop of slowdown in the last two years that we must grow. There is fair amount of clarity about the roadmap which is required for that growth. Therefore, I don’t think there is any resistance as far as bureaucracy is concerned to the reform process, but the bureaucracy has long been made whipping boy for it,” Jaitley said while speaking at a BRICS session at the World Economic Forum annual meet in Davos.

Jaitley further said the manner in which the new government is working, the country will reach 6.5% growth rate next year and “I think that is where the take off will start”.

Observing that there is also a change of mindset with the change of the government, Jaitley said, “Even if this year (2014-15) we end with about 5.5% growth rate, which is okay by global standards, but India is not smiling at this growth rate”.

The minister said 5.5% growth is much below the real capacity of India and the target is get back to 8-9% growth rate “which is more natural to India and I think we have the potential to do that”.

India’s economic growth fell to below 5% during 2012-13 and 2013-4. During the current financial year, the country’s economy is expected to recover and clock a growth rate of 5.5%.

The world is showing interest in India which had earlier fell off the global radar, he said, adding the government and policymakers were working to consolidate on these gains and sentiments.

Jaitley is scheduled to present the Budget for 2015-16 on February 28 in the Lok Sabha. In the Budget, he will spell out the strategy of the government to boost manufacturing and also economic growth.

Referring to the price situation, Jaitley said India has a moderate level of inflation, mainly on account of declining commodity prices in global and domestic markets.

Commenting on the recent fall in global crude oil prices, he said, “Our Current Account Deficit (CAD) is lot more balanced”.

“India has been able to resolve the problems with regards to domestic oil companies, he said adding “inflation has come down…we have a very moderate level of inflation now”.

Participating in the discussion, Renault-Nissan Alliance Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn said India has great potential and the company would continue to increase its investment in the world’s second largest democracy.

“India is again very good and offers great potential after some slowdown in the recent past. We continue to invest in all these countries and there is no retreat from any one of them on grounds that we do not see a future,” he said.

Minister of Strategic Affairs of Brazil, Marcelo Neri, said his country has a pro market strategy and has a social agenda too.

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