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NEW DELHI : Indian economy is set to grow at near double digit in the current financial year and then will go on to sustain growth in the range of 7.5-8.5% for the next decade given India’s investment attractiveness and demographic dividend, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in Boston on late Tuesday. 

“We are looking at close to double digit growth this year and this would be the highest in the world. For the next year, on the basis of this year, growth would definitely be somewhere in the range of 7.5-8.5%. I expect that to be sustained for next decade because the rate at which action in core industries are happening, rate at which services are growing, I don’t see a reason for India to be anywhere lesser than that in the next coming decade," Sitharaman who is currently in the US to attend the IMF World Bank annual meeting and the G20 finance ministers meet said. She was participating in a conversation with former US treasury secretary Larry Summers at the Harvard Kennedy School.    

International Monetary Fund on Tuesday kept its growth projections for India constant at 9.5% for FY22 and 8.5% for FY23.  

Sitharaman said post pandemic has reset the global economy and the way in which countries are going to plan their growth is going to be very different than prior to the pandemic. Referring to China without naming it, Sitharaman said investors are exiting from “certain geographical territories" and looking for opportunities elsewhere as they don’t anymore find transparency and rule of law in these geographical territories. “Therefore, industry and investment are the first ones to get out. They are looking for destinations where certain assumptions can be taken up such as rule of law, democracy, transparent policies, and assurance that you are in broad global frame of things and that you are not an outlier. All these are extraneous factors which help India. To attract industry to come to India, to set up businesses there, produce in India and export from India," she added.  

Sitharaman said, the huge domestic market potential of India will also push growth into a higher trajectory. “You would have people tell us that its population is big but you don’t have purchasing power capacity and therefore nothing can be sold to you all. Today our demographic dividend is not a dividend without a reason. It has great purchasing power ability. The middle class in India has money to buy things. So people who are moving from other destinations to invest in India, to produce in India will have a captive market," she added.   

Finance minister said the highly skilled manpower will also attract investors into India. “The same demographic dividend also gives us another advantage of skilled manpower in various areas. You find most of them in STEM as a result of which many of the areas where we have opened up investment possibilities such as space, atomic sciences, financial sector--Indians are contributing not only in India but also outside India in technology infused businesses. That is also one of the reasons India will attract investment," she said.   

Sitharaman said irrespective of the fact that globally today people have learnt to be more supportive of the local, India today is still best in agriculture. “Food security of many countries depend on imported food. Many in the Middle East depend on India for their basic food material. We will be among the largest exporters of food and food processed materials. We have also partly skilled labour intensive sectors such as textiles, footwear, leather, and component industries, all manufactured in India. So I see every reason to believe that 7.5-8.5% growth is absolutely sustainable for the next decade. These are features which don’t exist in any one country all put together," she said.   

Ahead of the G20 meeting of finance ministers which will discuss the global minimum corporate tax, Sitharaman said the large multinationals not paying taxes may be good for the company but “absolutely of no use" for countries where the business is generated. “Today more than 134 countries have come together to have a global tax on all those companies which are operating and making profit across nations but end up paying no tax in both the jurisdictions. I will be looking forward to having greater conversation on that in this G20 meeting," she added. 

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