Private sector investments will show improvement and lead the economy in coming years, reducing the role of government in pushing growth, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today.
Pinning hopes on various initiatives taken by the government to double farm income in the next five years, he said this would push up rural demand and revive private investments.
“Hopefully, this year the private sector investment and business environment improves. In the coming year, you (industry) lead…rather than the government leads the economy. That will be the ideal state for the Indian economy,” he said.
On doubling the farm income, he said: “Hopefully this should lead to increase in rural demand. And increased rural demand is going to fill in the holes as far as the economy is concerned and hopefully in reviving private sector investment in the economy.”
Talking about the global slowdown, he said, direction of decision making does not get reversed because it is extremely important that India fully utilises this opportunity.
“India needs to utilise this for more than one reason…We have missed many opportunities in the past and fortunately we have reached today a situation where I believe that the public opinion in India is strongly aspirational and wants India to grow. Therefore, any form of obstruction to the whole growth process…does not get popular sanction or support,” he said.
“These are rare moments in history and we cannot allow to lose these opportunities…it’s extremely important that we continue the pace of change in reform so that at a time when growth returns to the rest of the world it will only accelerate the point where we have reached at the present moment,” he added.
Emphasising that India stands out amidst adverse global condition, Jaitley said: “I believe that even within the present framework, given all the global headwinds against us, global trade shrinking and its impact on our exports…
“Despite all these adversities, I think if we concentrate on the exercise that we have engaged ourselves in and are able to overcome domestic obstructions we can still reach our optimum levels of growth which are higher then where we have reached today.”
On the issue of interest rates, Arun Jaitley said the high rate regime will make economy sluggish.
“Take for instance responsible political groups taking a position to support high interest rates…something which is absolutely capable of making us a sluggish economy,” he said.
“National pension scheme is bringing very attractive return and when more of such products come up…as vulnerable sections whose interest have to be protected…but in the process you will have deposit rates and lending rates which are in the long run to come down if the economy has to become more competitive,” he said.
Therefore, the direction of the debate has to be mature enough as to what helps in the interest of country, he said.