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India can sustain 10 pc growth: ADB President

Written by: Staff

Manila, Mar 26: Lauding India's development strategy, ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda says a a ten per cent annual growth rate is both doable and feasible on a sustained basis provided it remains deeply rooted on the reform process.

Mr Kurodo said issues of equity need to be addressed and the government must retain its thrust on infrastructure for poverty alleviation, which was also the objective of the Asian Development Bank.

"I think it is possible for the Indian economy to step up growth from the present level of seven to eight per cent to nine to ten per cent. It must, however, continue to be strongly committed to reforms," Mr Kurodo said.

Mr Kurdo, who before taking over as the ADB President was Special Advisor to Japanese Prime Minister Junichro Koizumi, said India has one of the most impressive growth rates in the South East Asian and South Asian Region and its profile of a robust growth has been continuing for some time.

"This year seven to eight per cent growth will be attained," he quipped and noted that this was impressive among the entire developing world.

Mr Kurodo said India's high growth rate in recent years has been next only to China and a sustained growth rate of this level or more will have a beneficial impact on the entire Region.

Mr Kuroda, who is Chairperson of the Board of Directors of ADB, said the Manila-based Development Bank's strategy for India is to help poverty alleviation through infrastructure led growth. To achieve this it was providing assistance to step up broad based economic growth through investments in physical and and social infrastructure in rural and urban areas for the benfit of the poor.

Mr Kuroda recalled India's contribution to the rapid development of the economies of Asia, but said the government must continue to maintain its thrust on building of roads, railroads, power generation, communication networks, and upgradation of local infrastructure. ''Deregulation and concessions are appropriate, but there must be further reform of the economy to grow,'' he said.

Mr Kuroda, who was in India recently to oversee arrangements for the Bank's 39th Annual Meeting to be held in May in Hyderabad, said he was satisfied that all things were in order.

He said he had reservations about some infrastructure facilities for the mammoth event, but was now happy that all arrangements were in place for the event to be attended by more than 60 Governors (Finance Minister) of the member countries.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram is the Governor for India in ADB.

The Annual Meeting is an opportunity for the Governors of the ADB's member countries to provide guidance on the Bank's administrative, financial and operational directions.

Typically, the Annual Meeting is attended by 2,000 to 3,000 people, including representatives of member governments, non-governmental organisations, media, observer countries, international organisations, academia and the private sector.

Mr Kuroda, who was earlier a Professor at the Graduate School of Economics at Hitotsubshi University in Tokyo, said the agenda of the coming meeting would be to focus on prospects of Asian economic development and the Bank's technical assistance to its various member countries.

''We are a development bank and are ,therefore, particularly interested in how economies in the Region are developing.'' He said this translates into a keen interest in equitable development and poverty reduction.

''Growth is necessary, but not sufficient for poverty reduction.

We must have sustained growth to reduce poverty. This means investments in social sectors--human capital, and healthcare. Good governance is a pre-requisite for poverty reduction,'' Mr Kuroda added.


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