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India to grow at 8% for 10 years: FM
December 06, 2004 13:00 IST
The Indian economy is poised for sustained economic growth of 7-8 per cent for the next ten years, Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram told participants in a keynote address at the opening session of the World Economic Forum's 20th India Economic Summit.
"For the first time, there is universal acceptance that India is riding a wave of sustained economic growth," he said.
Chidambaram also announced the creation of a three-person commission of business figures to spearhead efforts to engage the business sector and promote investment in India. Some 700 senior business, government and civil society leaders from 33 countries are in New Delhi to take part in this year's three-day India Economic Summit, which marks 20 years of cooperation between the World Economic Forum and the Confederation of Indian Industry.
Chidambaram said that India's sustained growth has been made possible because of the emergence of a 'broad consensus on fiscal discipline and prudence' and an acceptance that trade is beneficial, even if the country should register a large trade deficit
He underscored the government's commitment to its goal of attracting $150 billion in new investment over the next decade. This will be the main task of the new investment commission to be headed by leading industrialist Ratan Tata of the Tata Group, India 's largest private-sector conglomerate. The two other members will be Deepak Parekh, Chairman of financial group HDFC, and global business veteran Ashok Ganguly, Chairman of I-OneSource.
Chidambaram said that virtually every sector will be open for investment. Priorities include infrastructure (power, telecom, petroleum, airports and seaports) and financial services (insurance, banking and pensions).
The government aims to build six world-class airports and 20 new seaports. By the end of this month, it will release a roadmap for further opening of the banking industry. This will allow up to 74 per cent foreign ownership in private sector banks.
Chidambaram forecast that agricultural exports would double every year for another ten years. Finally, the minister remarked that, if he is able to ensure that every working-age Indian is employed, the economy would then be able to grow between 10 per cent and 12 per cent.
Earlier, Klaus Schwab , Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum, observed that India has progressed significantly in the two decades since the first India Economic Summit. "We were early believers that this country had a great role to play not just in the world economic community, but on the world stage in general. India has become a kind of star in the firmament of global opportunity," he said.
The World Economic Forum is the foremost global community of business, political, intellectual and other leaders of society committed to improving the state of the world.