New Delhi: The Planning Commission today said that emphasis on inclusiveness by the government should not be misconstrued as dilution of the overall growth agenda and the benefits should percolate to all strata of the society.
“Inclusive growth should not mean that existing growth agenda was being diluted,” Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia told the Indo-US Economic Cooperation meeting here.
He argued that the country’s achievements in various sectors should leave no prospective investors in doubt that India has failed to excel in overall growth.
“The economy is doing well. We had an average growth of 8.3% in the past four years and 9.2% during the past two years. We hope to achieve a growth rate of 10 % by the end of the 11th Five Year Plan,” he told the audience, which included prospective American investors.
Ahluwalia pointed out that the budget announcements were clear reflection of the government’s intention to ensure distribution of the benefits of a growing economy to the underprivileged.
He cited that the education cess was a necessary step towards upgrading the education system to ensure skill upgradation to meet the demands of a growing economy.
The Deputy Chairman said investment in the nation’s infrastructure should be about 8% of the GDP, which was about 18-20 billion dollars annually.
He pointed out that around 350 billion dollars would be required for the sector to develop roads, ports and airports, a chunk of which has to come from FDI and private participation.
Improvement was needed in the agriculture sector for which an increased emphasis was needed in agricultural research.
“The sector should grow by 4%,” he said and argued that there was an express need to go for crop diversification.
Indicating that both agriculture and infrastructure growth was imperative to propel the overall economic growth of the country, the Deputy Chairman suggested that an average annual investment of nearly 18 billion dollars was needed to enable the unhindered economic growth.
Earlier, delivering his speech Chairman and Managing Director of the Bharti Group Sunil Bharti Mittal pointed out that the US administration has encouraged some sort of protectionism as the elections in that country were drawing close.
Arguing that outsourcing was not a one-way street in the USA, he cited that his company has outsourced operations to US-based IT major IBM.
Mittal pointed out that the Americans stood to gain enormously from the huge technically trained Indian workforce, whom he described as Global workforce.