New Delhi, Jan 30: Pledging to continue structural reforms to accelerate growth, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said India has the potential to grow at 8-9 per cent, and only a higher growth rate can end poverty.
With India standing out at a time of a gloomy picture of the global economy, it's imperative to carry on structural reforms that have been put in place, he stressed.
The focus will be on infrastructure, irrigation and farm productivity, he said, while speaking at The Economic Times Global Business Summit here. Jaitley said India is one of the few economies that survived 2001, 2008 and 2015 global crises. "We probably have a potential to have a growth which is higher than what we have achieved.
This 7-7.5 per cent is not our optimum range. The Indian normal is 8-9 per cent category. And it is only when if you grow at that pace, you can get rid of poverty," he said. Stating that there are more than one factor supporting India, he said the country has a huge human resource, trained minds as well as a very large market.
"We have potential for increasing manufacturing. We have innovative skills. Our labour cost is not rising as they are rising in China.
We are not part of factor or transitions which are taking place in China," he said. The finance minister said the economy the world over is doing badly because of the slump in oil and commodity prices.
The slump "suits us because we are net buyers of these", he noted. "And therefore given these advantages, what is it that we have to do to put our house in order? I think the first important thing that we have to do is to carry on structural reforms."
He emphasised on keeping the focus on infrastructure sector, irrigation, improving agriculture productivity and manufacturing. "At the end of the day, what is it that you are asking for is to get that cutting edge that you must grow at 1-1.5 per cent faster than what you are doing today," he said.
"I think with all these changes and hopefully in future rain Gods being kinder to us than in the last two years, it is not very difficult or impossible for India to achieve that. We all know that our potential is right there. Therefore, we have the potential."