Pranab says growth must be inclusive for it to be sustainable

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Oct 1 2009, 04:59am hrs
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday launched a book titled The Sudoku of Indias Growth written by chief economic advisor in the finance ministry Arvind Virmani.

Talking about the countrys economic growth since independence, Mukherjee said that growth has to be inclusive in order to be sustainable. He said, Indias economic growth was 3.5% a year for sometime after independence. The rate grew to more than 5% in the 1980s. But the reforms of 90s led to a huge growth in the economy. The fruits of growth were increase in employment and income.

The growth, he said, came up to around 8% in 2003-04 due to investment, mainly private fixed investment. In a lighter vein, the minister said he was intrigued by the title of the book. As the chief economic advisor of my ministry, Virmani should have known the solutions to the problems in the economy and not just talked about them.

Besides, Mukherjee and Virmani, National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) director-general Suman K Bery was also present at the launch of the book. Bery highlighted the key points of the book saying poverty alleviation, inter-state disparity, focused growth of rural sector and targeting the subsidy at the lower 40% of the economy are something that the government should also look at. The Indian economy grew by 6.7% in 2008-09, down from an average annual growth rate of about 9% in the four previous years. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his remarks at the opening plenary session of the G-20 summit on September 25 had said that despite a drought, which will affect agricultural production, we expect to grow by around 6.3% in 2009-10 and about 7 to 7.5% in 2010-11.

The relatively strong performance is partly due to the strong stimulus measures introduced in the second half of 2008-09 that have been continued in the current financial year, he had said.