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Energy security, infrastructure to power India’s ‘8% growth rate’ aim: Ahluwalia

Kickstarting the opening session of “The Growth Net 2014” today, India’s deputy planning chief, Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, stressed that an 8% growth rate was achievable by accelerating key infrastructure projects and reviewing energy pricing.

Dr Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of India’s Planning Commission, was speaking at the official launch of The Growth Net 2014—a three-day global conclave co-convened by Ananta Centre (formerly part of Aspen Institute India) and Smadja and Smadja strategic advisory.

Expressing his views on reviving growth, Dr Ahluwalia said, “Economic slowdown is evident in India. However, the current growth rate is an aberration. The number of clearances granted has increased significantly. India’s current savings rate is 30 percent, which is quite good. I feel a sustainable path for India is to have an economic growth rate of 7-8 percent for the next 20 years. A ten percent growth rate path is unrealistic.”

“Energy supply is one of India’s biggest constraints. We are battling high costs, and are hugely import dependent for energy resources. Energy pricing needs to be examined, because India cannot achieve high growth rate with cheap energy. Energy efficiency, transportation, infrastructure and water security are other key areas that require greater attention. The goods and services tax is also an important reform to help the current fiscal situation,” Dr Ahluwalia asserted.

The slowdown in India and other emerging economies has triggered a debate on the need for reforms in structures and sounder fiscal policies. Reflecting on these issues, nearly 100 speakers from 25 countries have converged at The Growth Net 2014 to discuss global economic imperatives. The key issues being raised in the meeting include energy and water challenges; common global priorities; innovations and new technologies; education and healthcare; and foreign investment opportunities.

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