President Pranab Mukherjee today expressed the hope that economy would regain growth rate of over 8 per cent soon and the country’s USD 350 billion-plus foreign reserves put India in a comfortable position to deal with global challenges.
Inaugurating the centenary celebrations of the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the President said macro economic parameters like inflation and external sector balance have improved in the past year.
“The current account deficit has narrowed to 1.7 per cent of GDP in April-December 2014 from 2.3 per cent in the corresponding period last year. At over 350 billion US dollars, we now have comfortable foreign exchange reserves to meet the next set of challenges from global economic developments,” Mukherjee said.
The President said achieving high growth rate is a potent tool to fight scourge of poverty.
“Given the macro economic prospects, our economic growth should regain the eight per cent plus level soon. In a country like ours, there is no greater imperative than a robust and sustained economic growth,” Mukherjee said.
The President said population living below poverty line in the country declined from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05 to 21.9 per cent in 2011-12.
“About 85 million people were lifted out of poverty during the three-year period 2009-10 to 2011-12,” he said.
The President said it is not enough to be satisfied by poverty alleviation as the country will have to commit for poverty elimination which can be done by generating gainful employment opportunities and creation of skilled labour force.
The President said developing businesses into models of excellence call for deeper application of management principles and better appreciation of the socio economic realities.
“Businesses are meant not only to earn profits for their shareholders but also to add value to society at large,” he said.
Talking about the economy, Mukherjee said India’s economy grew at 8.6 per cent and 8.9 per cent during 2009-10 and 2010-11 respectively notwithstanding global slowdown of 2008.
“Fiscal expansionary measures helped in maintaining the growth momentum amidst downturn anxieties emanating from the global markets,” he said.
Mukherjee said the experience of the developed economies in the past few years suggests that an economy at full employment but with inflation higher than the normal may be better positioned to withstand a bout of financial stress than the one that is flirting with deflation.
“In our case we have also seen that business sentiment once broken and depressed may take considerable time to mend and receive the growth momentum,” he said.
Referring to Karnataka, Mukherjee said it was one of the leading states driving Indiau2019s economy as it contributed 6 per cent to India’s GDP, seven per cent to fixed capital and 13 per cent to total exports.
“Karnataka is propelling growth, crafting careers and creating wealth through a potent mix of resource and skill oriented, and technology and knowledge based products and services. It is one of the most technology savvy states in India, with a tradition of employing technology across various sectors of the economy,” he said.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said Karnataka had been recognised as the “most preferred” investment destination both for domestic and overseas investors.
He said the new industrial policy for 2014-19 gave special thrust on creation of good industrial infrastructure, skill development, simplification of procedures and providing good facilities.
Recently, he said, the government had initiated steps to abolish the trade licence requirement.
FKCCI President Tallam R Dwarkanath said the Federation had made every effort to fulfil the vision of Sir M Visvesvaraya, renowned engineer, scholar, statesman and Diwan of erstwhile Mysore, who founded the organisation.