Govt to push reforms to woo investment, plug infra deficit: Arun Jaitley
Prioritising the need to open up economy further, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the Centre will step up on reforms to attract more investment and fill up infrastructure deficit, even as he asserted there is a great amount of impatience on the growth front.
Speaking at the India-UK Tech Summit at New Delhi, he said unlike developing economies, voices seeking protectionism are almost absent as the economy expands.
I think one of the great strengths of the Indian economy is that even though we are growing at the fastest rate than any major economy, but by our own standard we are still not satisfied. There is a great amount of impatience in India and a far greater amount of realisation that we can grow even faster, he said.
Seven decades after independence, India's voice is increasingly getting noticed in the world, he said.
Therefore, to reform more, to open more, to attract more investment, to expand more in manufacturing, (we need) to fill up the infrastructure deficit faster than what we have been doing, he said.
As the $2.2-trillion Indian economy expands, it is "least influenced" by voices of protectionism, he said.
Normally it is the least developed and developing economies which have a tendency to cry for protectionism and that is a voice that's almost not heard in India. We are looking to open out and that's the being the direction of our economy, the minister said.
Jaitley said many opportunities have been wasted in the past and an aspirational nation doesn't want to let go off any now.
If we look at the areas where we have growth potential I think one obvious area is manufacturing. The share of manufacturing has to increase from the present 15-25 percent level and that's where we will realise we are creating far more jobs and expanding far better, he said.
Also, there is a huge potential to grow in the eastern India, and rural areas have a deficit and offer a tremendous potential to invest, he said.
The Finance Minister further said that after deciding to quit the European Union, Britain is looking outside Europe and sees countries like India as one of its great future partners in trade and business. Jaitley said India has been trying to expand in the infrastructure area in a big way in past few years.
We have one of the fastest highway and rural road construction programmes. We have a programme to upgrade 400 railway stations, create more airports and seaports, smart cities and these are all areas where we need a lot of investment, he said.
India, he said, is seeking a lot of investment in these infrastructure areas.
And, therefore, we have liberalised our policies, and created more instruments of investments. Our FDI policies are among the most open policies world over... so that we are in a position to get more investment and enabling environment to get that investment into India, we are open to all kinds of technologies, and India has a manpower resource, he said.
The Finance Minister said over the next decade or two India will be providing very qualified people globally at extremely competitive rates that will help the country emerge as a hub of skilled manpower.